Six teenagers face more than a hundred years in prison over accusations of rape at a baseball tournament.
The Pennington County state’s attorney said that the students were charged in relation to accusations of forcible sexual assault on two boys in June.
Prosecutors said the teens were involved with the “Mitchell Legion Baseball Program” while attending the tournament in Rapid City.
The teens were indicted in August. Two of them are 17 years old, three are 18 years old, and one is 19 years old. They will all be tried as adults.
Pennington County state’s attorney Lara Roetzel released a statement to CNN denying that the incident was simply one of hazing.
“This is not hazing, and this was not an initiation ritual,” said Roetzel. “We have heard reports of people characterizing it as such, and those terms minimize the situation, which was a serious criminal offense, a forcible sexual assault involving two victims.”
Each of the suspects were charged with second-degree rape and aiding and abetting second-degree rape, and two face additional charges related to rape.
Prosecutors said the two victims were 16 years old. The suspects with three charges face 150 years in prison if found guilty.
One of the suspects denied the allegations in an interview with the Daily Mail.
“I am innocent of the charges against me. The charges the DA filed against me are bogus, they are false,” said 18-year-old Lincoln Bates.
When asked there was penetration in the incident, he denied it.
“There was no penetration. No one was anally raped. They are false charges,” said Bates.
But, when pressed on further details, he refused to answer.
“None of your business,” he added.
A friend of the two alleged victims also spoke to the Daily Mail.
“They are teens they do not have the mental ability right now to process what is happening, at time they feel like they are to blame, even though they are clearly the victim,” the person said. “These young men were assaulted by people they looked up to, their own teammates.”
The six suspects are scheduled in court in February.
Here’s a local news report about the incident:
6 South Dakota high school baseball players charged with rape | Vargas Reportswww.youtube.com
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