A Las Vegas court has indicted a 16-year-old boy for allegedly "violently" raping at least three of his classmates over a course of a year.
Maysen Melton was arraigned on Wednesday (17 January) as an adult for being a repeat offender. He was reportedly charged with more than two dozen counts, including sexual assault, first-degree kidnapping and child pornography.
Melton's alleged victims are aged between 15 and 18 and all are students of Shadow Ridge High School. The abuse ended in March 2017 and the boy was arrested two months later in May, the Daily Mail reported. It is, however, not clear how his crimes were exposed and brought to the police's notice.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Kristina Rhoades said that each of Melton's victims were known to him and he abused them on school grounds or sometimes at his father's home when he was away. He had also taken their nude pictures and threatened them with dire consequences if they refused to send more.
Rhoades added that at least two girls "contemplated suicide based on what he told them".
In October 2017, Melton enrolled at Palo Verde High School after being expelled from Shadow Ridge. "I have some serious concerns for the girls who go to that school. This defendant, honestly, is a predator," Kristina said, expressing concerns for the female students of Palo Verde.
"It's the same thing over and over. He gets these girls in these intimate situations. He pushes them on the ground, throws them on the ground, trips them onto the ground, and pulls their pants down," she told Chief District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez in court.
Melton had reportedly served the "strictest" form of a sex offender probation programme in Juvenile Court from 2014 to 2016. However, details of his prior crimes were not revealed in court as those documents were now sealed, the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote, explaining why he is being tried as an adult.
Melton had been under house arrest since May 2017 but after his court hearing on Wednesday, he was taken into custody and a $200,000 (£143808) bail was set.
If found guilty, he could get a life sentence. It was not immediately clear if he could attend school following his indictment.