Federal Judge Tosses Out Gang Rape Charges

Federal Judge Tosses Out Gang Rape Charges

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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- A federal judge has dismissed charges against a man accused of participating in and photographing the gang rape of a 13-year-old girl.

In his decision, U-S District Judge Ted Stewart said the facts in the case were -- QUOTE -- "shocking and abhorrent," but there was no federal jurisdiction because neither the victim nor the photographs were transported across state lines.

Prosecutors had maintained that federal jurisdiction applied because the camera and film used in the case had previously traveled in interstate commerce.

Twenty-six-year-old Virgilio Jeronimo-Bautista was indicted by a grand jury in February on charges of sexual exploitation of children and aiding and abetting.

Prosecutors allege that he, Javier Lugo-Martinez and Andres Sanpedro-Jeronimo undressed a 13-year-old girl who became either intoxicated or somehow disabled while with the men. Court documents allege that each of the men then sexually assaulted the girl while the others took photographs.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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