Two charged with in-school sexual assault

Published: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 11:12 p.m.

Two teenage suspects in an apparent sexual battery in a middle school classroom in December were arrested this week.

Alachua County Sheriff's Office spokesman Art Forgey said the incident happened in a Kanapaha Middle School classroom on Dec. 15 between 1:30 and 1:40 p.m. The attack on a 14-year-old female student by two male students was reportedly witnessed by other students assigned to the classroom and happened when the teacher stepped out of the room.

A 14-year-old male student arrested Monday was charged with sexual battery and false imprisonment. A second 14-year-old male student was arrested Tuesday and charged with false imprisonment.

The incident occurred in a class for special-needs children, said Lt. Steve Maynard.

The two boys restrained the female student, and one performed a sex act on the girl, according to investigators.

Jackie Johnson, public information officer for Alachua County Public Schools, said the incident was not reported to the Sheriff's Office until about 10 a.m. the day after it allegedly happened because "the student described the incident very differently on Tuesday than she had on Monday and that raised this to a whole other level."

The teacher involved has been disciplined, Johnson said.

"In this particular incident, student supervision procedures were not followed. The district has taken appropriate actions related to that and those actions are confidential by state law," Johnson said.

Johnson also emphasized that sexual attacks on school campuses or other crimes against students are rare in Alachua County.

"Schools are a very, very safe place," Johnson said. "Statistics show they are safer at school than they are in their homes or neighborhoods."

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