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11 indicted in St. Charles sex case

L’Observateur / April 27, 1998

HAHNVILLE – Although charges were reduced last week, the group of 11 teen-agers who allegedly gang-raped a 15-year-old St. Rose girl wereindicted Wednesday after testimony to the grand jury from the teens and some of their friends.

Last week St. Charles Parish District Attorney Harry J. Morel reduced theaggravated rape charges all 11 teens were booked with to charges of carnal knowledge of a juvenile and sexual battery.

The victim told police the rapes occurred over several days in January. Shedid not go to police at that time. Those arrested said the sex wasconsensual and some have said they never had sex with the girl.

Teens arrested were Reynard Evers, 17, St. Rose; Wendell Mitchell, 19,Destrehan; Kentrell Jenkins, 18, Destrehan; Leonard F. Harris, 17, St. Rose;Joseph H. Johnson III, 17, St. Rose; Dwayne A. Donald, 17, St. Rose; WendellSmith, 18, New Sarpy; Cleophus Greene, 17, St. Rose; Lance Carter, 18,New Sarpy; Jose Hipkiss, 18, Destrehan; and a 16-year-old St. Rose male,not named because of his age.

As a result of the district attorney’s investigation, charges were reduced last week to carnal knowledge of a juvenile for Evers, Mitchell, Harris, Donald, Smith, Carter and Hipkiss. Jenkins’ charges were changed to threecounts carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

Also, charges for Johnson, Greene and the 16-year-old were reduced to one count of sexual battery.

Harris, Johnson and Donald are still charged with pornography involving juveniles, carrying a maximum penalty, if convicted, of 10 years in prison.

No police or court official would comment on the case because of a gag order issued by 29th Judicial District Judge Kirk Granier.

Meanwhile, a $500 reward set by Morel still remains for a videotape allegedly made during one of the encounters.

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