Second teen charged in Las Vegas gang rape to be prosecuted as adult

A second 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.

Dennis Alas-Jarquin — who is 18 but was 17 at the time of the crime — was one of four boys charged. The first teen to be certified as an adult in April was Alas-Jarquin’s half-brother, Leby Urquilla, 15.

The remaining two teens could still be certified as adults in the next few months. Two adults are also jailed in connection with the case: Jose Mejia-Henriquez, 18, and Leby Alas-Gomez, 39, the father of both Alas-Jarquin and Urquilla.

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.

Just outside the small juvenile courtroom Wednesday, the victim’s mother told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in Spanish, through an interpreter, that she was happy Alas-Jarquin would be prosecuted in the adult justice system, where he could face life in prison, but grew frustrated listening to the teen’s defense.

“You guys don’t know how they left my daughter,” the mother, 35, said.

Defense argues teen wasn’t at scene

The mother listened, occasionally wiping away tears, as criminal defense attorney Gwen Gerling argued Alas-Jarquin might not have been in Las Vegas at the time of the incidents.

The teen was raised in El Salvador with his mother, a hospital nurse, Gerling said. But life in El Salvador grew increasingly dangerous, so last year, Alas-Jarquin traveled to the U.S. with the help of a “coyote,” or human smuggler, to stay with a father he had never known, who turned out to be abusive and unloving.

Immunization records place the teen in Las Vegas on Nov. 17, Gerling said, but since the victim never gave a concrete date as to when the incidents occurred, other than around the time of Thanksgiving, Gerling said it was possible Alas-Jarquin was not present.

The attorney also noted her client was not in any of the videos that circulated the girl’s high school late last year.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Adams countered, saying the victim and at least two other teens charged said Alas-Jarquin was at the scene.

“Yeah, it sounds like he did have a rough road getting to the U.S., and I will stipulate his dad’s a jerk, but none of that in any way excuses or justifies the facts,” Adams said. “He clearly should have known better.”

When announcing his ruling, Judge William Voy said it would be more appropriate for the case to be considered by a jury, which is a possibility in the adult justice system.

Alas-Jarquin is due in Las Vegas Justice Court on June 22.

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

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