Whitman students charged as adults in sexual assault case

Dec. 13, 2002, midnight | By Robin Hernandez | 21 years, 2 months ago

Three Walt Whitman High School students have been charged with sexually assaulting a 25-year-old woman. According to the Washington Post the woman was lured to one of the students' homes on November 8, where she was threatened with a knife and forced to undress and then assaulted with a baseball bat.

Andrew Klepper, a 15-year-old Whitman sophomore, is currently being tried as an adult. Police reports detail that Klepper contacted the woman over the Internet and offered her a job as a model for adult video productions. The woman was invited to Klepper's home, where the three suspects allegedly took her cell phone and keys and then threatened her with a knife. The students were skipping school when the event occurred.

Klepper has been charged as an adult with first-degree sex offense, conspiracy to commit a first-degree sex offense, and armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery, charges that could result with life imprisonment.

Fourteen-year-old freshman Ryan H. Baird is also charged as an adult and could face life if found guilty.

Nineteen-year-old senior Young Song, was charged with armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and first degree assault.

According to Klepper's Defense Attorney Paul Kemp the primary hearing was set for December 13; however, it has been postponed for a month.

Kemp is strongly opposed to charging a "15-year-old with a crime that he can get life for." Kemp is working to have Klepper charged as a juvenile. "I believe firmly that [a juvenile facility] is where he belongs," Kemp said.

According to Kemp, "adult prisons are horrible." The facilities are under funded, overcrowded, and lack proper resources for a juvenile. Kemp believes that charging juveniles as adults has become a growing trend, as a result of the belief that "juveniles have been getting breaks."

Klepper is no longer permitted to attend Whitman High School, where the administration is seeking to expel him.

For more facts and statics on adolescents sex offenders visit, www.focusas.com/AdolescentSexOffenders.html.

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