A defense lawyer for one of the people accused of participating in the sexual assault of a 16-year-old Massachusetts girl has asked the court to summon the girl to testify. The lawyer wants her testimony to be considered because it might sway the judge to allow her alleged assailants to be released on bail until their trial. He said she wrote a letter stating that she consented to the sexual encounter and that her friends should be let go.

An Essex Superior Court judge agreed and issued a summons for the girl. The prosecutor, however, said that the girl’s location is not currently known because she is apparently on the run from the Department of Children and Families.

The sexual assault case arose after another girl saw the Snapchat messages and told her parents about them. Her parents alerted police, who arrested three people. According to the prosecutor, the girl was kidnapped, drugged and raped behind a school. The defendants have entered not guilty pleas.

A person accused of a sex crime has the option of building a criminal defense with the support of a lawyer. Initially, a lawyer will examine the evidence against the accused to see how strong the case is. If the evidence is questionable, a lawyer might negotiate with a prosecutor to reduce the charges. The person facing charges can also use advice from a lawyer when making a decision about entering a plea. Legal advice might help the person choose between accepting a plea bargain or pleading not guilty and going to trial.

Source: The Sun Chronicle, “Defense: Alleged assault victim wants defendants freed,” Associated Press, April 15, 2015