Four Oklahoma High School Wrestlers Charged With Rape, Plead "Not Guilty"
Feb 03, 2016 12:48 AM EST
Four Oklahoma High School wrestlers pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual harassment filed against them. The athletes allegedly harrased two of their teammates after attending a tournament.
One of the alleged attacker was identified as 18-year-old Tanner Shipman. According to the documents filed by the prosecutors, he was charged as an adult and is currently facing three counts of rape: first-degree rape by implementing force and fear, meaning harassment with an object other than a sexual organ, and two counts of first-degree rape by instrumentation of a victim under the age of 14.
The other three, who NBC News has not named, are 17 and 16. They were charged as youthful offenders, facing similar charges as Shipman. The other one on the other hand, only has a single count.
According to Yahoo News, the 12-year-old and 16-year-old victims were badly abused by the four students. Shipman reportedly "restrained" the older victim on a bus as the two other suspects sexually assaulted him while the younger one was assaulted thereafter. The incident happened last January 9 when the team returned from a tournament.
All four athletes attended the hearing in Gavin Court and were accompanied by their parents and attornies. However, FOX23 reports the accused and victims' side refused to give any comments regarding the case.
Meanwhile, the parents of the young suspects were advised to engage their sons to stress debriefing program.
Norman Public Schools superintendent Joseph Siano stated "we are well-prepared to handle situations like this and have programs in place to support students who experience trauma. And, while we believe the district's policies regarding student supervision are strong, we continuously evaluate our procedures to ensure they are followed."
The school suspended several students following the event. It also dimissed the coach who supervised the wrestling team when the incident happened.