[EDITOR’S NOTE: Charges against the defendants in this case were later dropped (see related story).]
By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia judge on Wednesday ordered five teenagers accused of raping a 12-year-old girl at a city recreation center to be confined to their homes, until their trial in late September.
Peering over his glasses and looking sternly at each boy, Family Court Administrative Judge Kevin Dougherty told the 14 and 15-year-old boys that they ‘may only leave their house if it was burning down.’
“The juveniles are to remain on GPS and in their homes,” says Assistant District Attorney Cheryl Yankolonis. “It’s strict monitoring. While it’s not the same as them remaining in custody, it’s still very close and tight supervision.”
The group of teens was tethered together by handcuffs, and led into the courtroom by Sheriff’s Deputies, while their relatives looked on from the back, relieved to hear that they would be returning home, rather than the Youth Detention Center.
One defense lawyer, Gerald Stein, says contrary to initial police reports that the five boys cornered the girl in a third floor stairwell, no physical force was used.
‘”I think I am able to say fairly confidently that there was no physical coercion,” Stein says.
The judge denied a defense request to allow them to leave home when school starts.