Prosecutors asked a federal judge late Monday to quash an unusual defense subpoena to have a rape victim appear in court on behalf of the two men awaiting sentencing on charges connected to her Washington County rape last year.
Jesus Tapia Montes, 37, and Elmer Ramirez, 44, both of whom were roofers from Mexico living in the U.S. illegally, are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Wheeling this Friday for a hearing to address pre-sentence issues.
Both pleaded guilty to transporting the mentally-challenged 19-year-old woman across state lines from West Virginia to their home in Washington for sex.
Federal prosecutors said they have been advised that defense lawyers for the two men have sent a subpoena to the woman's mother to have the woman to testify on behalf of Mr. Tapia Montes and Mr. Ramirez.
Both have argued repeatedly that they didn't know she was mentally challenged and that she had sex with them willingly.
The U.S. attorney's office said the judge should quash the subpoena because defendants have no right to confront an accuser at sentencing and that compelling her to face the men "will have a deleterious effect on her emotional state."
Prosecutors are asking for a chance to present evidence of that emotional trauma prior to sentencing.
Both men could receive up to 10 years in prison, although they probably won't get the maximum, and face deportation.
The FBI said Mr. Tapia Montes and Mr. Ramirez abducted the woman from outside her home in Wheeling on July 7, 2012, and drove her to Mr. Tapia Montes's residence on Wylie Avenue in Washington. Agents said they kept her against her will and raped her repeatedly for four days before returning her to Wheeling on July 11.
Torsten Ove: email@example.com or 412-263-1510. First Published July 16, 2013 12:15 AM