Young Man Pleads Not Guilty to Rape Charge in Hoax Case

VISTA (CNS) – A young man accused of having consensual sex with an Encinitas teen, who reported that she was kidnapped and raped by three men in an attempt to hide the tryst from her parents, pleaded not guilty today to a statutory rape charge.

Jose Adrian Cano, 20, of Vista, faces up to three years in state prison if convicted, according to Deputy District Attorney Katherine Flaherty.

An Oct. 13 preliminary hearing was set for the defendant, who is being held on an alleged immigration violation, the prosecutor said.

Cano was arrested as he left his home Tuesday, according to San Diego County sheriff's Captain Sherri Sarro. She said investigators believe there are other underage victims.

Cano's arrest came four days after a 10th-grader reported being kidnapped and raped by three men while walking home from school along Melba Road in Encinitas last Friday afternoon.

News of the supposed crime stirred alarm and concern throughout the North County. The 15-year-old girl gave detailed descriptions of the supposed assailants, which authorities used to make composite drawings that were publicized widely, along with warnings to area families and school officials.

Then on Monday, authorities disclosed that the girl had confessed to having skipped the final class of her school week, meeting with a man she had been in contact with via computer and having consensual sex with him.

“The (girl's) parents had warned their daughter about the dangers of communicating with strangers online,” Sarro said. “(She) was embarrassed, ashamed and scared of how her parents would react to her being victimized by someone she had met online.”

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