A 14-year-old boy charged as an adult with rape and attempted rape involving two girls at Garrison Middle School appeared before a District Court judge yesterday and was ordered held on $100,000 bail at the Baltimore City Detention Center.
Three other boys -- ages 11, 12 and 13 -- were also charged in the alleged assault Wednesday in a basement storage room at the Northwest Baltimore school. The girls, ages 13 and 14, and the four boys are students at the school in the 3900 block of Barrington Road in Forest Park.
The 14-year-old boy, Matthew L. Thomas of the 4700 block of Navarro Ave., went before Associate Judge H. Gary Bass for a bail review hearing at the Borgerding District Court Building at 5800 Wabash Ave.
Clad in a black shirt and dungarees, the boy entered the courtroom shackled in the middle of a line of seven other defendants, all of whom were older and taller than he.
The boy glanced at his aunt, Essie Timmons, who was seated in the back of the courtroom, and with whom he lives.
During the hearing, Judge Bass noted that the boy had a case pending in juvenile court on an assault charge.
The judge also pointed out that the charging document states that the suspect was wearing a condom when he pulled down his trousers to attack the girl.
"Even though he's only 14 years old, he seems to be a sophisticated 14-year-old," the judge said.
The public defender argued that the boy should be released to his aunt's custody because the case would eventually be sent to juvenile court and the family would not be able to raise any amount of bail.
But Judge Bass set bail at $100,000 and ordered the boy sent to the Detention Center, with the stipulation that he be kept on the third floor with the other juveniles.
Hearing this, the boy's aunt asked incredulously, "They're going to send him to the city jail?" Judge Bass assured her the boy would be segregated from adult prisoners. As Ms. Timmons tearfully left the courtroom, several of the men shackled to her nephew called out to her, "He'll be all right!"
The police report filed on the incident said the two girls told police they were walking in a basement hallway about 12:30 p.m. when they were forced into the storage room by the four boys.
Three of the boys were inside the room and the fourth remained outside as a lookout, police said.
Two boys forced one girl to the floor. While one held her down, another boy raped her, police said. The other girl also was held down, the report said, but her attacker, a third boy, succeeded only in unzipping her pants. She kicked him and both girls fled.
The girls went to a second-floor bathroom, the report said, and then reported the attack to a teacher.
City police were summoned, but a school police officer already had apprehended the 14-year-old. The three other suspects were taken to the office and identified by the girls.
One girl was treated at Mercy Medical Center, police said. The younger boys were taken to the Waxter Youth Center in Laurel pending action by juvenile authorities.
A school spokeswoman said that the girls were back in classes at Garrison yesterday and their parents met with members of the school's administrative staff.
The four boys and the two girls were supposed to have been in class, said Muriel Ashley, city schools spokeswoman.
"They were all cutting class together," Ms. Ashley said. "We have that documented."
Staff members and others expressed concern yesterday that the school's reputation might be smeared.
"Garrison is doing everything it can to protect its children," said the Rev. Roy B. Munson Sr., pastor of the Greater Faith Community Church, who volunteers at the school five days a week.
But a parent of a sixth-grade girl expressed concern.
"I drop her off and pick her up. And now I have to worry about her being in school, too?" the parent asked.