Her voice growing louder and more forceful as she spoke, a Ramsey County judge delivered a stern talk to a defendant convicted in the gang rape of a 14-year-old girl before sentencing him Monday.
Judge Gail Chang Bohr told Xou Yang, 17, who received eight years in prison, that his presentence investigation indicated he showed no remorse or empathy for the victim.
"I was struck by the sense that somehow she was to be blamed," Bohr said of his comments during the investigation, which evaluates a person's history and mindset.
She continued: "No means no. Stop means stop. Nobody ever asks to be raped or to be injured. Your crime has had a tremendous impact on the victim.
"It is not her fault."
Nine defendants, including four juveniles, were charged in March with plying the girl with alcohol at a party last November, then taking her to a vacant house in St. Paul, dragging her inside and sexually assaulting her.
Authorities have said the defendants are members or associates of the TB22 street gang.
Yang pleaded guilty in July to conspiring to commit criminal sexual conduct and to committing a crime for the benefit of a gang.
Four of the defendants have pleaded guilty, agreeing to testify if the remaining five go to trial.
Yang was the second person sentenced in the case. Last week, Shaileng Shong Lor, 17, was given eight years in prison on the same charges. The two others who have pleaded guilty are Mitchell T. Yang, 23, and an unnamed juvenile.
The five people facing trial are Vang Toug Ger Vue, 19; Kong Meng Vang, 38; Vanchai Xiong, 19; Mang Yang, 24, and Jim Her, 17. Vue and Vang are to be tried together, while the others' trials are to proceed separately.
Her has been certified as an adult, as Lor and Xou Yang were, but he is appealing that decision.
In the courtroom
Before Bohr spoke in the St. Paul courtroom on Monday, Yang's public defender, Susan Scarborough, told the judge that he was remorseful for his actions and wanted to leave the gang.
Prosecutor Heidi Westby said the victim sent impact statements to the court that would remain confidential.
Yang was credited for 180 days served in jail and will have to pay restitution and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
"I think about your age, and it's a terrible thing," Bohr said. "You're still young. You have an opportunity to turn your life around, and you have to do it."
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib