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Sex allegations added to burglary suspects' charges

A man who allegedly orchestrated a robbery in September has also been charged with sex crimes in connection with the incident, according to recent media reports. The robbery was carried out by three teenagers and the alleged ringleader, who is facing the additional charges of aggravated sexual battery at this time.

The group, which included four suspects, is accused of staging the robbery at a residential group home designed to help victims of alcohol and drug abuse. The main suspect allegedly made contact with a resident at the facility and made arrangements to meet him at the home. He pretended to be gay in order to arrange a date, according to prosecutors, during which the other three suspects would rob other victims in the home. The other suspects were also led to believe the victims at the group home were gay by the main suspect.

The suspects are accused of armed robbery in connection with the incident, during which three of the group's members reportedly burst into the home wielding weapons. After some time at the home, some of the robbers reportedly forced two residents to perform sexual acts with each other and were allegedly using gay slurs and homosexual references throughout the robbery. Throughout that activity, other suspects are accused of burglarizing the home.

This information came to light after a preliminary hearing, according to prosecutors. As a result, the suspected ringleader will face additional charges of aggravated sexual battery in connection with the incident. His initial charges also included aggravated burglary, fleeing arrest and aggravated robbery, according to authorities.

Other defendants in the case are also facing charges in connection with the getaway car supposedly used to flee the scene, according to officers. Those include auto burglary and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, among others.

Even though Kansas does not have a specific hate crime law, legal experts say that suspects can receive harsher sentences if evidence can show their crimes were motivated by race, religion, sexual identity or other factors. As a result, the men could face longer prison terms than state guidelines recommend, thus a criminal defense attorney hired by the alleged ringleader will review the evidence and work towards getting the charges either dropped or reduced to minimize the potential consequences should a conviction occur.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Johnson County prosecutors say robbers forced sex act," Tony Rizzo, Dec. 20, 2012.

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