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Teens Plead Guilty In Rape Case

Two Independence teenagers pleaded guilty April 23 to sexually assaulting two Talmadge Middle School students.

INDEPENDENCE -- Two Independence teenagers pleaded guilty April 23 to sexually assaulting two Talmadge Middle School students.

Jorge M. Banuelos, 16, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted sodomy.

His older brother, Norberto M. Banuelos Jr., 17, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted unlawful sexual penetration.

Meanwhile, the boys' father, Norberto M. Banuelos Sr., was arraigned for furnishing alcohol to minors.

The brothers entered their pleas as part of an agreement with the Polk County District Attorney's Office.

They will both get psycho-sexual evaluations as part of reports to be sent to Circuit Court Judge Charles Luukinen before getting sentenced.

Sentencing is scheduled for Monday, June 11, at 1:15 p.m.

Although Luukinen has some discretion either way, the teens could get 16 to 18 months in prison. They are being sentenced as adults.

Deputy District Attorney Mark Hslinga said changing the charges from rape to attempted rape is not a reflection on the evidence in the case.

"There is no problem with the evidence in this case. This was a negotiated plea agreement," he said.

It's important to note the charges went from second-degree to first-degree, he said.

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