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Rape suspect's mother speaks out after 4 Manatee County students arrested

BRADENTON, Fla (WFLA) - When Tonya Smith learned her son was one of the five boys accused of raping a 13-year old girl, her heart sank.

How could HER son do such a thing? She claims, a short time later, her phone buzzed. It was a text from the alleged victim telling her, her son did nothing wrong.

"It's not easy. It's not easy at all when you know your child is innocent," said Smith as her voice trembled. "And the victim is literally telling you your child is innocent."

Manatee County sheriff's deputies arrested Smith's 15-year-old son, 18-year-old Timothy Hinds and the others last week.

Investigators tell us the 13-year-old girl snuck out of her home and went to another home to watch TV with the 15-year-old. The report says he assaulted her, and then each of the other young men assaulted her as well.

It happened at an apartment outside of the Bradenton city limits in August.  The accuser and the boys accused were all students at Braden River High School.

Smith says reading the report makes her stomach turn.

"Who, who? If you even read that in a book that happened to a little girl it would bring tears to your eyes," said Smith. "So why would you even read that your son did this? I would disown my son. He was raised way better than that. "

Smith hired attorney Kelly McCabe who claims the messages the victim sent after Calloway's arrest reveal a lot about how truthful she was when she told authorities what happened.

"I mean, we have the messages from her where she's saying she lied and she wanted to have sex with him," said McCabe. "And she wanted these things to happen."

News Channel 8 is not naming the four teen suspects or the victim. Smith maintains her son is innocent.

Smith's son remains in the Juvenile Assessment Center. He's scheduled to be released on Feb. 9, but McCabe is hoping to get an emergency hearing to get him released earlier.

McCabe adds in a perfect world, charges against those involved would be dropped.

But she says even if prosecutors determine a sexual battery didn't take place, they may still file charges against the boys for having relations with a girl under the age of consent.

 

Follow Chip Osowski on Facebook

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