MORRISTOWN — An Essex County man convicted of participating in the gang rape of a drunk 17-year-old girl when he was also 17 has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Aquil Malik, now 23, was the only one of the three defendants charged in the 2011 sexual assault in Morristown to be sentenced to prison.

Two other defendants, who were 17 and 18 years old at the time of the crime, received just a year of probation after pleading guilty — a disparity that the judge who sentenced Malik took note and expressed concerned about.

Even though Malik and DeQuan McDaniel were juveniles at the time of the crime, a judge waived up their cases so that they could be tried as adults.

McDaniel and Tyrec Phillips pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and aggravated criminal sexual contact.

Prosecutors said the three met the girl at a social gathering and agreed to drive her home. Instead, they raped her after she fell unconscious.

The victim awoke to find Malik on top of her. Prosecutors said the girl told him to stop, but he continued.

The Daily Record, which followed the court proceedings in this case, reported last year that the judge was "concerned about the disparity" in the sentences resulting from the plea deals. Prosecutors said the victim only saw Malik assualting her, but the judge pointed out that the other two had nevertheless incriminated themselves during the investigation.

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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email

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