Sexual Assault Suspects Plead Not Guilty - NBC 7 San Diego

Sexual Assault Suspects Plead Not Guilty

Two 16-year-olds held on $5 million bail



    Sexual Assault Suspects Plead Not Guilty
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    Two 16-year old boys, who prosecutors say are in the U.S. illegally, have been charged as adults in the sexual assault of two teenage girls at a Rancho Penasquitos park.

    At the boy’s arraignment Monday afternoon, prosecutor Wendy Patrick, in graphic detail, described an assault in which the victims were raped multiple times. The 16-count indictment against Leonel Contreras, 16, and William Steven Rodriguez, 16, includes conspiracy and kidnapping.

    “There’s also an assortment of sexual assault charges that ranges from forcible rape, to forcible sodomy, to forcible oral copulation,” said Patrick.

    The two suspects entered not guilty pleas through a public defender. A judge also denied a defense request for the boy’s faces to be hid from media coverage.

    The case stunned a normally quiet Rancho Penasquitos neighborhood. According to investigators, the two girls had left a family birthday party on September 3rd and had gone to a nearby park on Spindletop Road. The two boys then approached them from behind at knifepoint, according to prosecutors.

    “Each of the counts also carries some additional allegations which includes the fact that these victims were kidnapped and moved to a secluded area,” said prosecutor Patrick. “This kind of crime is something that changes young women. These are brave young girls, who did the right thing by reporting it. But it’s true that crimes like this change family dynamics.”

    The mother and brother of suspect Contreras were in court for the arraignment. His mother denied the accusation he is in the U.S. illegally. She says the boy’s now deceased father was American.

    Contreras’ brother, fighting back tears, says his brother was not capable of the crime.

    “No, he’s not. I know him. I live with him. I sleep in the same room with him. I know what he’s capable of,” said Ivan Contreras.

    Prosecutors say they made the decision to charge the boys as adults based on the nature of the crime.

    “They were strangers to the girls, as I told the judge. They walked up with a knife and immediately ordered them to a very secluded area where they immediately ordered the girls to take off their clothes and began to sexually assault them,” said Patrick.