Attorneys for two of the four middle school-age boys accused of rape and sexual assault in Rockland County, N.Y., argued yesterday that the boys’ written statements of admission were obtained illegally, and that police lied during their testimony.
The boys, Kensley St. Fleur, Guerson Bellee, Jerry Jean-Baptiste, all 13, and Ray-Jey Alexis, 12, allegedly admitted in written statements to sexually abusing two sisters, aged 14 and 12. Their parents were present at this time and co-signed the statements, which describe how the boys held down the 14-year-old while she was raped, and how they tried to rape the 12-year-old. The lawyers argue that the boys and their parents did not understand their constitutional rights against self-incrimination before signing the statements. “My client thought he had to answer their questions,” said David Goldstein, attorney for Ray-Jey Alexis, “You got a 12-year-old boy — do you think he knew what his rights were? The statements should be suppressed.” Prosecutors for the county, however, say that the rights were properly explained.
Larry Gantt, the attorney of Guerson Bellee, said detective Peter Louzan should have stopped questioning Bellee as soon as his mother said she didn’t want her son answering questions without a lawyer present, reported Journal News. Instead, said Gantt, Louzan got Bellee to admit to having sex with one of the girls. In court, Gantt, a former NYPD lieutenant, said, “As far as I am concerned, he was not telling the truth. He was trying to justify how he handled the case. He did what we called in the city ‘testi-lying.’” Gantt also argued that media obtained from his client’s cell phone and iPod should be suppressed because it was obtained illegally.
In an interview with Journal News, the 14-year-old alleged victim said, “I was scared my parents might yell at me or do something against the boys. Finally, my friend told me that if I didn’t tell my parents, she would come over and tell them herself.” She described how she was held down and tried to fight the boys off. The boys allegedly came to the house three times between June 11 and June 13, entering and exiting through the window. Their attorneys argue that texts, Facebook messages and emails between the alleged attackers and victims show that they were invited to the home. Late last month, Family Court Judge Sherri Eisenpress ordered prosecutors to release those texts and messages.
No date is yet set for when Eisenpress will announce her rulings on whether the statements should be supressed. The boys remain on house arrest.