2 more teens charged in rape

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 10, 1998

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / April 10, 1998

HAHNVILLE – Nine Destrehan High School students are now accused of raping a 15-year-old St. Rose girl.

Lance Carter, 18, 803 East Lawson St., New Sarpy, was arrested Wednesday, and Jose Hipkiss, 18, 300 Riverview Drive, Destrehan, was arrested Thursday. Each was charged with one count of aggravated rape.

Carter was the District 6-5A defensive most valuable player as a linebacker for Destrehan High. Numerous major universities were looking at his budding career.

Additionally, 29th Judicial District Attorney Harry Morel issued an offer of $500 for the videotape allegedly made of one occasion when the girl claims she was raped.

“It’s out there,” Morel said of the tape Thursday. “I’m not going to ask how they got it.”

Anyone with a copy of the tape is urged to contact Morel’s office at 783- 6263 to arrange the exchange, cash for the tape.

The tape has reportedly been passed around at Destrehan High School, but no copy has come into police hands, said Capt. Patrick Yoes, spokesman for the department.

A grand jury is due to convene April 16 to consider the evidence against the suspects.

Meanwhile, 29th Judicial District Judge Kirk Granier issued a gag order April 8, enjoining the state, defense attorneys and all court personnel from making any statements about the facts of the case to any media representative.

According to police reports, on Jan. 30 the alleged victim’s boyfriend picked her up, drove her to a New Sarpy address and reportedly had consensual sex with her. Afterward, the boyfriend left the room and returned with five other teen-agers, three of whom reportedly had sex with her while two others watched.

Yoes said the boyfriend told the girl to have sex with his friends “to prove she loved him.”

After that incident, the girl was then taken to an apartment in the Charlestowne area of St. Rose, lured there with the promise of being allowed to take a shower. There, she reportedly endured rapes by three other males before she was returned home, according to her statement.

She did not notify anyone of the alleged assaults.

Four days later, on Feb. 3, she told authorities she was again picked up by her boyfriend and this time taken to an address in the Ormond area. There, she claims she was reportedly raped by four other males, after which they “kicked her out” and she ran home.

Yoes said the girl tried to resist the rapes but was forcibly held down and made to submit. However, she did not call police to report the incidents until Feb. 16 after word got out around school of the videotape. Yoes added she felt “very embarrassed about it.”

Had only one male been involved, the charge would have been carnal knowledge of a juvenile. However, since several were involved, the charge became aggravated rape, carrying a mandatory life sentence, if convicted.

Those arrested earlier, all charged with one count of aggravated rape, include Kentrell Jenkins, 18, Destrehan; Leonard F. Harris, 17, St. Rose; Joseph H. Johnson III, 17, St. Rose; Dwayne A. Donald, 17, St. Rose; Wendell Smith, 18, New Sarpy; and Cleophus Greene, 17, St. Rose.

Harris, Johnson and Donald were additionally charged with pornography involving juveniles, and a 16-year-old St. Rose male was charged with three counts of aggravated rape.

Most of the suspects were Destrehan High School athletes, according to 1997-1998 team rosters. Smith was DHS’s starting quarterback, Harris and Jenkins were defensive backs and Donald was a tight end. Jenkins was also a guard on the DHS basketball team.

Six of the suspects are being held at the parish jail on $200,000 bond set by 29th Judicial District Judge Kirk Granier. The family of Joseph Johnson III raised bond money and had him released into their custody Wednesday.

The juvenile is being held at a New Orleans facility.

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