Monmouth County, NJ – A New Jersey judge who refused to try a teen rapist as an adult justified his decision by arguing that the Eagle Scout had high college entry scores and came “from a good family,” according to court documents.
The attacker filmed the rape and sent the video to his friends, CNN reported.
“[W]hen your first time having sex was rape,” he boasted in an accompanying text, according to court documents. “Boy, if I had a knife on me… when I f--ked her, I’d be the epitome of this show.”
Monmouth County Superior Court Judge James Troiano said that the suspect’s texts “really doesn’t make a lot of difference because the whole paragraph to me is just a 16-year-old kid saying stupid crap to his friends,” according to court documents.
Troiano further declared that the 16-year-old rapist, identified only as “G.M.C.,” hadn’t exhibited predatory behavior, and that the attack didn’t even qualify as a “traditional” rape, The New York Times reported.
According to Troiano, a “traditional” rape generally involves “two or more males” who hold the victim “either at gunpoint or weapon, clearly manhandling a person,” CNN reported.
The judge said that prosecutors should have explained to the victim and her family that G.M.C.’s life would be destroyed if they chose to pursue charges, according to The New York Times.
Court documents revealed that the victim, identified by an alias of “Mary,” was visibly intoxicated at a New Jersey party in 2017, CNN reported.
At some point during the alcohol-fueled gathering, Mary went to a darkened area in the basement with G.M.C., according to court documents.
She was stumbling and her speech was slurred.
"While on the sofa, a group of boys sprayed Febreze on Mary's bottom and slapped it with such force that the following day she had hand marks on her buttocks,” court documents said.
G.M.C. filmed himself and Mary’s bare torso as he penetrated her from behind, The New York Times reported.
The video showed the victim’s head banging off of a wall repeatedly during the attack, according to CNN.
G.M.C. left the girl in the basement after raping her, and his friends later found her vomiting on the floor.
A friend’s mother then drove her home.
"The following morning, Mary discussed with her mother her fear that sexual things had happened at the party,” court documents read. “She did not understand how she could have gotten bruise marks on her body or how her clothing had torn.”
Several months later, Mary discovered that G.M.C. was sharing a video of the attack with their peers.
She asked him to stop disseminating the footage, but he claimed there was no video. G.M.C. also shared the video further after denying its existence to Mary, prosecutors said.
She and her family subsequently pressed charges.
Prosecutors said that G.M.C.’s actions were “sophisticated and predatory” and requested that the court move his case out of the juvenile system and into adult court, CNN reported.
“This was neither a childish misinterpretation of the situation, nor was it a misunderstanding,” prosecutors wrote. “[G.M.C.'s] behavior was calculated and cruel. This level of criminal sophistication warrants the elevation of this case via involuntary waver to the adult criminal court.”
Troiano denied that request in July of 2018.
“He is clearly a candidate for not just college but probably for a good college,” the judge noted while issuing the denial. “[T]his young man comes from a good family who put him into an excellent school where he was doing extremely well.”
Prosecutors appealed the decision to the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court, which sharply rebuked Troiano’s ruling on June 14.
"That the juvenile came from a good family and had good test scores we assume would not condemn the juveniles who do not come from good families and do not have good test scores from withstanding waiver applications,” the appeals court judges said.
“In denying the waiver, the trial court minutely considered the circumstances of the offense, made an independent assessment of the juvenile’s culpability, and considered G.M.C.’s prior good character and ‘the input of the victim or the victim’s family,’” the appeals court continued.
“His consideration of these elements, however, sounded as if he had conducted a bench trial on the charges rather than neutrally reviewed the State’s application,” the court noted.
The appeals court reversed the decision and remanded the case back to Monmouth County.
“We are grateful that the Appellate Division agreed with our assessment that this case met the legal standards for waiver to Superior Court," Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said in a statement to CNN. "As with all cases, we are assessing our next steps, which will include discussions with the victim and her family."
The case could proceed to a grand jury, where G.M.C. may be tried as an adult, The New York Times reported.
Troiano, who has since retired, refused to talk about the case when questioned by reporters outside his home on Wednesday, the New York Post reported.
“I cannot talk about this,” he said. “I know very much about it. I know all the stories. I can’t say anything.”