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Students Arrested

Two Whitman students face the possibility of life in jail for a first-degree sexual offense. A third Whitman student faces charges of first-degree assault, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery, each with a penalty of up to 20 years in jail.

"This is one of the most criminal acts that I have — in my five years here — heard students being accused of doing," said Derek Baliles, of Montgomery County Police. "We have had students commit murder, but this is the most extreme assault given to a 15- and a 14-year-old."

"Whether these teenagers thought this was funny, a joke or a prank, it wasn't. It was criminal, so criminal that two now face the possibility of life in prison if convicted as adults. Life in prison is next only to death in terms of what we place in crime," said Baliles.

ACCORDING TO POLICE REPORTS: the victim, a 25-year-old woman from Gaithersburg, reported to police that she was contacted by a male on Friday, Nov. 8 who offered her employment as a model for adult video productions. The victim, who is self-employed as an adult entertainer/escort and advertises services via the internet, arrived at a residence in the 7900 block of Quarry Ridge Way in Potomac at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 8.

As she entered the residence, she was attacked by three males, who struck her with a bat and attempted to cover her mouth with a cloth that the victim stated "emitted a medicinal odor." With a knife held beside her face, she was robbed of her cell phone and her car keys. She was threatened with a bat and forced to remove her clothing before she was sexually assaulted.

She also reported to police that $2,000 in currency was missing from her tote bag when she returned to her vehicle.

AFTER AN INVESTIGATION by detectives from the police Major Crimes Division, Andrew Geoffrey Klepper, 15, of the 7900 block of Quarry Ridge Way in Potomac, was arrested on Nov. 14. Klepper was charged as an adult with first-degree sex offense and conspiracy to commit first degree sex offense, each carrying a punishment of up to life in jail. He was also charged with armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery, each with a penalty of up to 20 years in jail.

Klepper was released on a $50,000 cash bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13.

* Young Jiun Song, 19, of the 7600 block of Tomlinson Ave. in Cabin John, was also arrested on Nov. 20. He has been charged with first-degree assault, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery, each with a penalty of up to 20 years in jail. He was also released on a $50,000 bond and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Dec. 13. Song was not present for the sexual assault, according to police charging documents.

* Ryan Howard Baird, 14, of the 12200 block of Village Square Terrace in Rockville, was still in jail as of Tuesday, The Almanac's press deadline, according to Baliles. He was arrested on Nov. 15 and has been charged as an adult with first-degree sex offense, conspiracy to commit first-degree sex offense and armed robbery. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for this Friday, Nov. 23. Baird also faces possible life in prison.

Baliles said police were grateful that the woman came forward to report the assault despite being threatened by her attackers. Many sexual assaults go unreported, and some women in the escort business might have felt that the police would not take her complaints seriously.

"She may have saved someone else from some assault later," said Baliles.

She was treated at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.

Evidence recovered indicates that an assault occurred and confirmed the woman’s story, Baliles said.

The three Whitman students were supposed to be in school, the day and time the crime was committed.

"It was a regular day of school," said Baliles.

Montgomery County Public Schools routinely call a student’s home if he or she is not in school. But Baliles said parents who are concerned about their children missing school should work out a system with the school to call a work, pager or cell number.

Calls to Dr. Jerome Marco, Walt Whitman's principal, were referred to Montgomery County Public School's Information Office. That office did not return phone calls by the Almanac's press deadline.