Grand Jury lowers rape charges in Harlan Co.

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

Two men in Harlan County are facing downgraded charges after more evidence was presented to a grand jury.

In August police charged Gustabo Salina and Marcos Lopez with rape and kidnapping in the first degree after police found a missing teenage girl at their residence.

Henry Johnson, the Commonwealth's Attorney in Harlan County says the first charges were only based on preliminary investigation.

"In district court, that arraignment was just based on the complaint that was sought . The case had not gone to the grand jury," said Johnson.

After the grand jury got the case indictments came down for 2nd degree rape charges instead of first.

"The difference between those two charges is the element of forcible compulsion," said Johnson.

He says the indictment of 2nd degree rape is based on the age of the victim, not whether the victim was forced.

The kidnapping charge was also dropped.

"It's a lower degree but a still very substantial charge," said Johnson.

Johnson says the charges carry up to a 20 year sentence.

City of Lynch Police Chief Mike Nunely who works closely with the case says the investigation is still ongoing.

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