WASHINGTON - The attorney for one of the Damascus High School football players charged in an alleged violent locker room attack against their own teammates is speaking out, saying his client should be charged as a juvenile and not as an adult.
"The juvenile court is really the appropriate place to go and so that is where we are trying to push the case," said attorney David Felsen.
His client, Will Smith, is one of four 15-year-olds along with J.C. Abedi, Kristian Lee and Caleb Thorpe charged with first-degree rape.
"He's a 15-year-old, and it's a matter of public record - has never been in any kind of trouble, has never been a disciplinary problem in any way, shape or form, and to be facing this type of circumstance is profound," Felsen said of Smith, who like the other teenagers could face life in prison if convicted.
In court documents, prosecutors described the alleged locker room assaults in vivid detail, with one of the alleged victims telling police that the lights were turned off, he was held down and assaulted with a wooden broomstick - all while he screamed and his attackers laughed.
"They were victims of first-degree rapes and attempted rapes. These were crimes," Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said Monday.
However, Felsen said the full story has yet to be told.
"You may have heard a narrative that is being explained," he added. "We are not going to engage in a counter narrative other than to say that all people charged with crimes - including Will Smith - are presumed to be innocent."
Shelly Brown, the attorney representing Thorpe, also said she believes the case should be tried in juvenile court, adding that Thorpe is a child and should be treated as such.
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