Parents outraged to learn teen accused of child rape is at school
Fri, 28 Sep 2012 05:12:07 GMT —
There is a real fear for one Harlingen High parent who believes her two kids are at risk with an accused child rapist in the classroom.
She did not want to be identified.
"Most of these girls are not as strong as these boys," she explained. "He could have easily done this to any of the girls in one of the bathrooms."
The 15-year-old student in question is accused of luring a 5-year-old girl away from a BBQ north of Harlingen over the Labor Day weekend.
It's at an abandoned lot where the alleged victim's family says their daughter was sodomized.
A sheriff's report indicated he pulled down the girl's pants and told her to "look at the stars."
The teen has since been released from a juvenile detention center but must be kept under adult supervision.
This mom doesn't think he should be allowed in a regular classroom.
"Our kids are in that school," she said. "And he's being allowed to attend school."
A spokesperson with the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District says under law, the school must be notified when a student is charged with a felony.
Once the school recently found out about the charge, action was immediately taken, according district spokesperson Shane Strubhart.
He says parents are not notified because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Former juvenile prosecutor Gustavo Garza says cases involving minors are treated differently than with adult offenders because rehabilitation is sought.
"The system understands that children are learning," Garza said. "They learn from their mistakes and doesn't want to mark them for life."
He says it's important to remember that the minor in question is only charged and hasn't been found guilty of a crime.
"This is just an allegation," he said. "Nobody has been tried. Nobody has been adjudicated in the juvenile system."
This mom calls it a sobering reality.
"I feel horrible. Mad."
She says the juvenile system is flawed.
The Harlingen teen in question has been charged with indecency with a child.
Charges could be upgraded if his DNA matches fluid taken from the little girl during a rape kit.
The alleged victim's father says prosecutors have told him, the juvenile will likely only get 2 years probation.
He hopes to advocate the Texas Legislature for a harsher punishment for juvenile predators.
The Cameron County D.A.'s office would not comment on the father TMs allegations of a likely plea deal or minimum punishment because it TMs an ongoing criminal investigation.
A spokesperson adds information involving juvenile cases can not be disclosed because it is confidential by law.