Posted on

2 Lanesville students charged with sexual harassment, battery

Two juveniles from Lanesville Junior-Senior High School have been charged with sexual battery and harassment after a parent reported “inappropriate touching” by the upperclassmen that allegedly occurred in the school’s boys’ locker room on more than one occasion during the last two years.

Administrators at Lanesville Junior-Senior High were made aware the of allegations of misconduct in late November.

According to a press release by Steve Morris, interim superintendent of Lanesville Community School Corp., school officials immediately contacted the Dept. of Child Services and local law enforcement.

“Both agencies launched investigations, interviews and inquiries into these allegations and instructed the school to refrain from conducting its own investigation. All school employees and officials are fully cooperating with the criminal investigation,” according to the press release issued Jan. 10.

Last month, on Dec. 28, the school received a copy of the investigative report from the sheriff’s department and moved forward with disciplinary measures. The accused students, members of the basketball team, were permanently removed from the team and were not to be present at the school or school events.

“All individuals involved, the accused and the alleged victims, are juveniles,” Morris wrote. “The students accused are entitled to the presumption of innocence under the U.S. and Indiana constitutions. The alleged student victims are entitled to their privacy. Please respect their individual rights within this process. Speculation in the media or on social media does not protect those rights nor does it help the situation. Please direct any questions regarding the criminal investigation to the Harrison County Prosecutor’s Office or the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept.”

The school will continue to request updates from the sheriff’s department to remaining portions of the investigation and will respond accordingly if it receives any new information. A written safety plan has also been created and put into effect.

“As the school, school board and local agencies work through this situation, we continue to ask for your patience and understanding,” Morris said. “Lanesville promotes and values a learning environment that is welcoming and comfortable for all students; unfortunately, this situation is tearing the fabric of the Lanesville school community and Big Purple Nation.

“We will continue to strive for peace, comfort and compassion for our school community,” he said. “Thank you for your support in the past and commitment to making Lanesville the best school possible.”