Ooltewah High School in Tennessee had its entire basketball season cancelled after news emerged that a 14-year-old player was raped in the December 23 hazing incident involving a pool cue. The town of Ooltewah, which is a middle-class suburb of Chattanooga, has been rocked by the scandal and the community is demanding answers.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports:
On the same day Ooltewah’s basketball season was abruptly ended because three players are accused of raping a teammate, Hamilton County’s school board chairman said there are still no answers and ended a public meeting Wednesday night in less than four minutes.
“The public is looking for answers and, unfortunately, we won’t have any tonight,” said Chairman Jonathan Welch, who was the only person to speak during the school board meeting. More than 100 people sat and listened as Welch read a statement assuring the public the alleged assault of the Ooltewah freshman by his basketball teammates is not being “swept under the rug.”
Welch said he welcomes local law enforcement involvement in the investigation, and said he hopes it will assure the public the situation is being properly investigated.
“I ask that law enforcement be allowed to do their jobs and investigate,” Welch said. “We cannot supersede any law enforcement investigation, but we can benefit from their investigation if we allow them the space to work.”
Coverage of the case is still ongoing and there has been some word of a larger investigation into the matter but already there are reports of so-called “hardship transfer” students attending the school.
There are also reports of there being around seven percent of the student body that are actually zoned for another school, although outlets aren’t making any correlation to mentioning this. Ooltewah is one of the wealthier communities in the region.
The victim in the case had to be hospitalized for his injuries, which included a ruptured colon and bladder.
Watch NBC News’ report on the incident below.
Photo: NBC News