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Charges dropped in teen rape 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 on 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.

Earlier Story

By Scott Orr

The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT- The Yavapai County Attorney's Office has dismissed charges against three boys accused of the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl on Jan.31, 2015, according to Chief Deputy County Attorney Dennis McGrane.

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said the victim told deputies she had been assaulted.

The girl told deputies one of the teenage boys called her Saturday evening and asked if she wanted to hang out with some friends. She agreed, and the three boys picked her up at her home.

The four teens reportedly drove together to a remote area outside Cottonwood. The three boys allegedly told the victim there was an outdoor party.

"No such activity was occurring," D'Evelyn said.

The vehicle stopped in the remote area, where authorities allege the three boys sexually assaulted the girl. According to the Sheriff's Office, the boys took the girl back to her home around midnight.

Detectives from the YCSO Criminal Investigations Bureau investigated, and arrested two 16-year-old boys at Mingus Union High School. The third, age 17, was arrested at his home in Cottonwood.

The three appeared in court on Thursday, Feb. 19, where Deputy County Attorney Carol Kennedy argued that they should be held in custody until a planned hearing Friday, Feb. 27, where it was anticipated they would be charged as adults. Judge Anna Young agreed to hold them.

McGrane said they had been released, but could still be charged.

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

Follow Scott Orr on Twitter @AZNewsguy

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