Teen gets eight years in gang rape of girl, 14, in St. Paul
- Article by: CHAO XIONG
- Star Tribune
- September 11, 2012 - 11:01 PM
A St. Paul teenager on Tuesday became the first person to be sentenced in the 2011 gang rape of a 14-year-old girl, receiving an eight-year prison term for his role in the November crime.
Shaileng Shong Lor, 17, pleaded guilty in July to charges of conspiring to rape the girl and to having committed the crime for the benefit of a gang. He was one of five adults and four juveniles accused of plying the girl with alcohol, driving her to a vacant St. Paul house, dragging her inside and sexually assaulting her.
"We told the public that we would rigorously prosecute these cases," said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. "What you're seeing is that unfold."
In addition to Lor, three others have entered guilty pleas. Five cases remain open, although Vang Tou Ger Vue, 19, has a plea hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
The county attorney's office has run hard at the case. Choi put one of his top prosecutors, Heidi Westby, on all nine cases, and three juveniles were successfully certified as adults. One of them, Jim Her, 17, is appealing that decision.
"We've been working on this quite some time," Choi said.
Prosecutors and police say the suspects were members or associates of the True Blood (TB22) street gang, one of St. Paul's largest Hmong gangs, known for guns, violence and several burglaries throughout the metro area.
When Lor pleaded guilty in July, he said under questioning that he helped pull the girl from a vehicle and held her leg down after she was forced into the White Bear Avenue house and onto a mattress.
Court documents say that at least one suspect, Vue, sexually penetrated the girl before someone yelled that police were coming, and everyone scattered.
In addition to his prison sentence, Lor will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
"Mr. Lor, I don't have any words of wisdom for you," Ramsey County District Judge Mark Ireland said after he handed down the sentence.
The victim sent Ireland an impact statement but asked that it be kept confidential with the judge, so it was not read in open court, said county attorney spokesman Dennis Gerhardstein.
Lor's parents and a few family members who attended Tuesday's sentencing declined to comment.
The defendants who pleaded guilty -- Lor; Mitchell T. Yang, 23; Xou Yang, 17; and an unnamed juvenile -- have agreed to testify at the remaining defendants' trials if requested. The trials will proceed separately, although the state is seeking to join the trial of Kong Meng Vang, 38, with Vang Toug Ger Vue's trial, if Vue does not plead.
Vanchai Xiong, 19, and Mang Yang, 24, are also charged in the case. They have pre-trial dates scheduled for October.
Jim Her has no court date scheduled.
In a motion filed in August, one defense attorney, Gary Wolf, wrote, "In this case, it is believed most of the five defendants currently charged will plead guilty."
Choi declined Tuesday to address that assertion.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708
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