|Left to right: Paul Thorington, Anthony Albano, and Ray Laranjo.|
According to a Miami Beach police arrest affidavit,the woman said Paul Thorington, 22, of Lomita; Anthony Albano, 23, of Rancho Palos Verdes; and Ray Joseph Laranjo, 23, of Torrance sexually assaulted her on March 23 after she agreed to go to their seventh-floor room at the Fontainebleau to drop off her purse.
KTLA has been following the story and attempted to speak with the suspects by visiting their homes yesterday. Only Thorington was available and he offered no comment. If I were falsely accused, I'd be screaming "I'm innocent!"Perhaps his attorney has instructed him not to speak with the media, but if that's the case he should not have answered the door. When the general public hears "no comment" they associate it with guilt. In fact, when we see the alleged rapists on television it's hard to imagine the suspects are innocent.
In this case, the innocence of these men is all I want to imagine. I've had classes with Albano and he is one of the nicest people I've ever met. He has too much to lose and would never have to force himself on anyone. Please don't assume that I'm being naive because I presume innocence. At first glance, this case looks bad. Why would three men be sexually involved with one woman? Then again, why would one woman go to a hotel room that was 26 blocks away from where she met three strangers? There are so many aspects to consider before assuming anything. It's best to remain neutral, but it's hard to do that when images of these "suspects" are plastered everywhere. Commenters on numerous websites have labeled them as "monsters" and wished ill upon them without knowing the facts.
The alleged suspects were booked on charges in Miami Dade County of sexual battery involving multiple offenders and have been released on $50,000 bail each. Arraignment for them is scheduled for April 14. If charged with sexual battery (the Florida designation for what is called rape in California) they could face up to 30 years in prison.
Even if the charges are dropped, the embarrassment of the issue will live on. One simple internet search and you can find that they were arrested. Their names and photos are easily accessible and the alleged victim's identity is protected. Does the media expose too much information about suspects before actual facts are available? Should the public have a right to know so much? Be sure to post your thoughts and comments below.
Thanks for reading,