Woman testifies to being gang raped in MS-13 trial
A teenager testifying yesterday in the case of two men accused of racketeering while involved with the MS-13 gang said one of the defendants put a gun to her head and ordered at least 10 other gang members to rape her.
The 19-year-old woman said during graphic testimony in a Greenbelt court that defendant Oscar "Casper" Velasquez, 21, ordered the 2003 "ritual rape" after she refused to have sex with him at a party.
"I told him I wasn't going to do anything, that I didn't come to the party for someone to take advantage of me," she said. "He told me if I didn't do it to him that he would tell the other men to do it to me."
The woman, then 16, said the incident began when she and two friends walked out of morning classes at Laurel High School to attend a "skipping party."
She said Velasquez, a friend of one of the girls, picked up the young women, then drove them to a Hyattsville apartment where he briefly danced with her to reggae music.
But a small gathering of about six soon turned into a large party of about a dozen men after one of the young women called her boyfriend, a suspected gang member.
The young woman testified that Velasquez led her to a bedroom, where he kissed her and laid her down on the bed.
She said Velasquez then brandished a gun and threatened to shoot her if she yelled, while another man entered the room and began choking her and a third waved a stick as if he were going to hit her.
An hours-long struggled ensued, she said, with as many as 15 men, including her friend's boyfriend, entering the room every five minutes, each closing the door behind him.
However, she said Velasquez did not rape her.
The woman also did not name Velasquez's co-defendant, Edgar "Pony" Ayala, 28, in the rape. The men face life in prison for conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise in connection with killings, kidnappings, robberies and rapes since 2001. Testimony continues today.
The young woman's testimony yesterday also included her 10-minute 911 call to the Prince George's County Police Department in which she and her friends can be heard crying hysterically.
One of her friends was also gang raped in a separate room.
"I thought they were my friends," one of the young women can be heard saying. "Why would they do this to me?"
The woman who testified said each time the door opened she could see "Oscar standing outside the door looking."
"I was crying," she said. "I was terrified."
Midway through the ordeal, the young woman said, Velasquez entered the room, had her sit on his lap and asked whether any of the men had asked for oral sex before he kissed her and said, "Now you are my woman."
Richard Bittner, Velasquez's attorney, said his client is innocent.
"The prosecutors' allegation is that it was a ritual rape -- part of the culture of MS-13," Mr. Bittner said. But, "he's not a member and he didn't do it."
During cross-examination, Mr. Bittner asked the woman why it took more than a month after the rape to mention the gun to police, rather than the day after "when it was fresh in [her] mind."
Mr. Bittner also asked the woman why, before the rape, she went to the apartment, went for food at McDonald's and then returned if she became "afraid" upon seeing Velasquez flash gang signs as he drove the girls to the apartment.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Greenbelt said Ayala's last known address was in Suitland and Velasquez's was in Baltimore.
Velasquez and his family, who were in court yesterday, are permanent legal residents from El Salvador, his attorney said.
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