On Monday July 1, 16-year-old Felipe Lopez-Velasquez pleaded guilty in Kent County Circuit Court to raping and robbing a 21-year-old Grand Valley State University student in September of 2012. Another individual, 14-year-old Marco Vazquez, was also involved in the incident according to a news article at Mlive.com.
The alleged rape and robbery took place near John Ball Park as the alleged victim exited a bus. Lopez-Velasquez and Vazquez raped approached the woman as she got off the bus, then proceeded to rape her before stealing her backpack. The two were quickly apprehended by Grand Rapids police. The older of the two suspects told a detective that the original intention was to rob the victim, but the situation escalated.
Lopez-Velasquez was initially lodged in the juvenile detention center but moved to the Kent County Jail while he awaited his September 2012 probable cause hearing. He is charged as an adult in the case, and has had several prior run-ins with the law since the age of 12 according to news articles.
Vazquez was also charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and unarmed robbery, however he was charged as a juvenile and will be incarcerated at a facility for young offenders until the age of 19.
Lopez-Velasquez is scheduled to be sentenced on August 15, and could face life in prison.
Michigan sex crime lawyers understand the seriousness of these types of crimes; however, it is also important to note that teens who are 14 and 16 years old are typically not fully developed or mature on a mental or psychological level, and seldom realize the potential consequences of their actions. While rape is certainly an egregious crime, it is also extremely unfortunate to see a 16-year-old spend his entire life behind bars.
If you or someone you know has been accused of criminal sexual conduct or any sex-related offense, consult with an aggressive and skilled Michigan sex crime attorney immediately.