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Fourth teen to be prosecuted as adult in gang rape of Las Vegas student

The fourth and final teenager charged in the November gang rape of a 14-year-old special education student will be prosecuted in the adult justice system, a Clark County Family Court judge ruled Wednesday.

The victim, who has the mental capacity of a 7- or 8-year-old, told police she was sexually assaulted by at least six males on three separate occasions in November. The accusations came to light after a video depicting the girl being used in group sex acts began circulating around Del Sol Academy in December.

Henry Guardado-Romero — who is 16 but was 15 at the time of the crime — teared up at the judge’s ruling Wednesday, then asked if it was OK to hug his parents.

When the judge approved, Guardado-Romero’s mother, who was anxiously covering her mouth for most of the hearing, walked up to her son and sobbed in his arms. The boy’s father quickly embraced him while holding back tears.

And the mother of the victim walked out of the courtroom content.

“I feel bad for (Guardado-Romero’s) mother, because I’m also a mother,” she said. “But even though this isn’t the end, I have a feeling this is going in the right direction.”

Three other minors have already been certified as adults in connection with the case: Leby Uriquilla, 15; Marlon Castillo-Lopez, 17; and Dennis Alas-Jarquin, who is 18 but was 17 at the time of the crime.

Two adults also are jailed: Jose Mejia-Henriquez, 18, and Leby Alas-Gomez, 39, the father of Uriquilla and Alas-Jarquin.

Guardado-Romero was not visible in any of the cellphone videos that circulated around the high school late last year, but he was the only minor who gave a statement to police after his arrest.

The teen’s attorney, Spencer Judd, argued on Wednesday that the boy’s statement, which included an admission that the teen performed a sex act on the victim, was “coerced.”

“What we have here is a young man who was — whether the state agrees or not — was bullied into making a statement,” Judd said. “He makes a confession and because of his confession, they then use that.”

Judd said his client had no major behavioral problems, no known mental illnesses, no criminal history and a good relationship with his parents, adding that Guardado-Romero “got caught up with other kids.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Adams argued that Guardado-Romero’s case was better suited for the adult justice system, where he could face life in prison.

“How would the juvenile courts treat him? Teach him that females are people, too, and not just chattel, and that it’s not OK to gang rape girls?” Adams asked. “What kind of treatment is there for that, when he doesn’t even think he did anything wrong?”

A hearing in Las Vegas Justice Court is scheduled fore early next Wednesday.

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.

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