Jean Abedi, Kristian Lee, Will Smith, and Caleb Thorpe have been named as the four fifteen-year-old suspects charged as adults for first-degree rape charges in relation to a hazing incident that occurred on October 31.
All four boys were on the JV Varsity football team for Damascus High School, a Maryland school known for its football program.
A fifth suspect has been charged in the incident, but his name will not be revealed because of his age. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Four Teenagers Have Been Charged as Adults With First-Degree Rape Counts, & a Fifth Teen Has Been Charged as a Juvenile
Despite the fact that they’re all fifteen years old, all four of the named high school boys have been charged as adults on several counts, including first-degree rape. The suspects, who were members of the JV Varsity football team at Damascus High School, described as a “powerhouse” football program by The Washington Post.
An additional suspect that has not been identified by name will be charged as a juvenile, according to court records. None of the boys’ mugshots will be revealed to the public, since they’re technically underage.
According to The Washington Post, here are the counts that each suspect has been charged with:
- Kristian Jamal Lee, 15, Germantown: charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of attempted first-degree rape, two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree rape
- Will Daniel Smith, 15, Clarksburg: charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of attempted first-degree rape, two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree rape
- Caleb Thorpe, 15, Gaithersburg: charged with four counts of first-degree rape, four counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree rape
- Jean Claude Abedi, 15, Clarksburg: charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of attempted first-degree rape, two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree rape
2.The Alleged Incident Occurred Near Halloween, & Involved a Broom Handle
The incident in question occurred on Oct. 31 and allegedly took place after school was let out. The incident was a part of a hazing ritual in which members of the JV squad turned the lights off, attacked their teammates, and sodomized them.
At least two victims are mentioned in the court records as saying they were pinned down and sodomized by a broom handle, according to the court records.
3. At Least One of the Men Intends to Plead ‘Not Guilty,’ According to His Lawyer
Though none of the suspects has spoken out publicly, Daniel Wright, Abedi’s attorney, has stated that Abedi “intends to plead not guilty. He comes from a strong family background and has the support of his family.”
What’s more, Smith’s attorney, David Felsen, said that Smith has no criminal record and has had no disciplinary problems throughout his life. Felsen said, “He’s a very good student… always respectful to teachers and adults and gets good grades.”
Felsen further asserted that the cases should have stayed in the juvenile court system, because that court is “better equipped to deal with such young kids.”
Pending the results of the trial, these boys now face decades in jail time.
4. The Montgomery School System Is Currently Looking Into a Culture of ‘Widespread Bullying’ Across 25 Schools
According to The Washington Post, the Damascus hazing incident might be indicative of a more widespread culture of bullying and hazing across the entire Montgomery school system.
5. No Faculty Members or Coaches Have Been Implicated in the Incident Thus Far
Thus far, no employees of Damascus High School have been suspended or fired in relation to the hazing incident.
On Nov. 10, the editorial board of The Washington Post released an op-ed arguing that Montgomery County should “seriously address” the allegations of rape that were first revealed on Nov. 1. It appears that Montgomery County has done just that.