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Boys' kidnapping suspect faces sodomy charges

Story Highlights

• Prosecutor files 71 charges against Michael Devlin
• Devlin is accused of kidnapping two Missouri boys
• Suspect has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping charges
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CLAYTON, Missouri (CNN) -- A 41-year-old Missouri man accused of kidnapping two boys was charged Monday with multiple counts of forcible sodomy.

St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch has filed 71 charges against pizzeria manager Michael Devlin.

The first 18 counts -- one count of kidnapping and 17 of forcible sodomy -- relate to last month's abduction of a 13-year-old boy; the remainder are kidnapping and forcible sodomy charges related to the 2002 abduction of a now-15-year-old boy.

Each of the counts is a felony carrying a possible sentence of life in prison. (Watch prosecutors, attorneys discuss the new charges Video)

Devlin has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping charges in Washington and Franklin counties, where the abductions allegedly occurred.

"We can only tell you that we have explained the charges to Michael Devlin and that he understands that the charges are very serious," Devlin's attorneys, Ethan B. Corlija and Michael K. Kielty, said in a statement.

"We have also told Mr. Devlin that we have received no evidence from any of the prosecutors about any of the charges. Common sense and the Constitution would suggest that everyone should wait to hear any evidence before reaching any final judgment."

In announcing the charges, McCulloch did not identify the alleged victims. Pictures of Ben Ownby, 13, and Shawn Hornbeck, 15, were widely broadcast after the boys were discovered inside Devlin's apartment in suburban St. Louis on January 12.

"I realize it's a rather futile attempt on my part but, in an effort to maintain as much dignity and to enable the family and the victims in this case to begin their healing process policy, I'll adhere to my policy of not specifically identifying victims in any sexual assault/sexual abuse case," McCulloch said.

Typically, CNN does not identify alleged victims in sexual assault cases but has decided to do so in these cases, given the publicity already generated.

"Their overall identity isn't exactly a national secret," McCulloch said.

Devlin remains in custody in Franklin County.

Michael J. Devlin is accused of kidnapping the two boys from separate Missouri towns more than four years apart.



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