A 15-year-old boy accused of instigating the rape of fellow members of his Maryland high school football team in the school's locker room will be tried as a juvenile, moving the case out of adult court, a judge ruled Thursday.
The teen is one of five boys charged for alleged rapes of fellow players on the Damascus High School junior varsity football team last fall. He is the last of four teens whose case has been moved this year from adult court to juvenile court.
News4 does not name suspects charged as juveniles. A second, third and fourth teen also were charged as adults. Three of the teens' cases were moved to juvenile court, on Feb. 15, Feb. 22 and March 14.
Prosecutors say the 15-year-old was allegedly the instigator of the attack, but the judge sent his case back to juvenile court so he could continue to get medication for severe ADHD and therapy.
The juvenile's attorney says the judge did the right thing. He says his client couldn't control his impulses due to severe, untreated ADHD.
The judge was originally to make the decision Tuesday, but said he needed more time to review the situation. Ultimately, the judge said the attack was horrible but law requires him to consider several factors.
Four victims were stomped on, laughed at and sexually abused with a broom in what the defendants called a hazing ritual, prosecutors said.
On Oct. 31, 2018, the suspects targeted their smallest teammates, who they thought wouldn't fight back, police said. The suspects entered the locker room while the victims were changing for practice, investigators said.
It wasn't clear if there was an adult in or near the locker room at the time.
After the teens were charged, Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy objected to the use of the word hazing to described the alleged attacks.
"I’m offended by the term hazing," he said. “It’s not hazing. These are crimes, and I would caution anyone to refer to this as hazing. These boys were victims of criminal acts. They were not victims of hazing, they were victims of first-degree rapes.”
McCarthy said earlier this month that he would fight to keep this case in adult court.
The attorneys for the victims said Thursday that they are outraged and want stiffer penalties that could come if the case was tried in the adult system.
Another juvenile, whom police did not name, remains charged as a juvenile.
The four teens previously charged as adults were jailed, released on $20,000 bond and ordered to stay away from the high school and their alleged victims.
Once the criminal cases leave court, Montgomery County Public Schools will determine what actions, if any, they will take against the students.