Charges dropped, teens released in sexual assault case

PRESCOTT-- Monday, the Yavapai County Attorney's Office dismissed charges against three Cottonwood teens accused of kidnapping and sexual assault against a 15-year-old girl Jan. 31. 

They were released from custody following the request of the county attorney's office.

The investigation by the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office is ongoing and additional information is expected, according to Yavapai County Chief Deputy Dennis McGrane.  A final charging decision will be made by the County Attorney's Office when all information is received, he said.

The Sheriff's Office arrested all three boys (two 16-year-olds and one 17-year-old) Feb. 2 and they since had been held in juvenile detention in Prescott.

The young girl alleged to authorities that she thought there was a social event happening when one of the boys called to ask if she wanted to "hang out" Jan. 31.

She said the boys drove her to a remote area off Old Highway 279 where the social event was occurring.

There was no such gathering, she said, the vehicle stopped and she said she was sexually assaulted.

Tom Kelly and Bruce Griffin, attorneys for two of the defendant teens, in separate documentation to Judge Anna Young, claim that the allegations by the 15-year-old girl that the sex was not consensual are false and can be verified through social media shared between the boys and the girl.

Some of that social media evidence was in the hands of the county attorney's office but the attorneys complained that it had not been shared with the defense at the time of their requests.

Deputy County Attorney Dennis McGrane said the decision to dismiss was based on the evidence at hand, but, he suggested there may be evidence the office has not yet seen.

McGrane says a final charging decision will be made by the County Attorney's Office when all information is received. The county attorney requested the dismissal late Monday afternoon.

There are no pending restrictions on the boys.

The incident is still being investigated by the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.


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