CHATTANOOGA (WATE) – Three employees of Ooltewah High School are in court Monday morning for a preliminary hearing on charges that they failed to report the extreme hazing and rape of an Ooltewah High School basketball player.
Gatlinburg police say a 17-year-old from Ooltewah High School raped a teammate with a pool cue who was being held down by two 16-year-old players. That player was sodomized with a pool cue and required hospitalization for a ruptured bladder, according to court documents. Three Ooltewah High School basketball players face charges for that incident, which happened at a cabin in Gatlinburg on December 22nd during a holiday tournament. They’re scheduled to appear in court next month.
- 3 charged in hazing incident at Gatlinburg cabin
- Ooltewah basketball coaches, athletic director charged in rape investigation, suspended without pay
Here’s the latest from court:
Judge Rob Philyaw said there are reasonable grounds for sexual abuse in Hamilton County Court. The case will bound to a Grand Jury.
Ooltewah Head Basketball Coach Andre Montgomery, assistant coach Karl Williams and athletic director Jesse Nayadley all pleaded not guilty.
Detective Rodney Burns takes the stand. He claims that the suspects jumped the victim. The victim told him that one of the suspects pushed a pool stick into him, so hard that it busted through his clothing. He let out a yell and ran into the bathroom. He was bleeding.
Originally, the hospital said the victim’s injuries were not serious. A patrol officer came to the cabin to separate the victim from the suspects. The victim went to get his clothes. Det. Burns claims that the victim collapsed after saying, “I think I’m bleeding.” He suggested calling an ambulance.
“This wasn’t sexual in nature. They didn’t pull his pants down or penetrate,” said Burns. He believes players knew there was going to a form of bullying in days before the incident.
Principal Jarvis claims that he did not receive formal training on how to report child or sex abuse. It did not occur to Jarvis to call child services.
Hamilton County Superintendent Rick Smith said paperwork to go on a field trip to Gatlinburg for a basketball tournament was not approved by the school board. He testified in court Monday that paperwork for the filed trip was incorrect.
According to Smith, his first communication about the rape incident occurred through text message. He testified receiving text messages about the Ooltewah incident at 11:09 a.m. on December 23 saying three Ooltewah basketball players had assaulted one of their teammates. He said he received varying information through text message, but never got an actual phone call.
Smith said Ooltewah Head Basketball Coach Andre Montgomery, assistant coach Karl Williams and athletic director Jesse Nayadley, who are charged in the incident relied on what other people had done when reporting abuse, since there is no official school policy when handling abuse cases. He said it is policy that a principal be notified of a suspendable offense, but it is an “unwritten rule” that a superintendent is notified.
Ooltewah Head Basketball Coach Andre Montgomery, assistant coach Karl Williams and athletic director Jesse Nayadley will all appear in court on charges they did not notify the Department of Children’s Services or any law enforcement after the incident happened.
Tennessee law requires that child abuse, apparent child abuse or child sexual abuse be reported immediately. Montgomery was reassigned to a non-teaching position after he was charged.
Four other Hamilton County School officials have been subpoenaed to testify: Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith, Assistant Superintendent Lee McDade, Secondary Operations Director Steve Holmes and Ooltewah High School Principal Jim Jarvis.
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