published Friday, May 23rd, 2014

My client is not suspect in Gilmer County post-prom rape investigation, attorney says

Calhoun High School
Calhoun High School
Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The attorney for a Southeast Whitfield High School student says his client is not a suspect in the Gilmer County post-prom rape investigation.

Sam Sanders, an attorney for the McCamy Law firm in Dalton, released a statement on his Facebook page around 3 p.m. today. He said his client, Rhett Harper, has been interviewed three times by a detective, but only as a witness.

Harper played quarterback for Southeast Whitfield in the fall. He is also on the school’s baseball and basketball teams. In April, he signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Georgia State.

Three Calhoun High School seniors that the school identified as suspects in the investigation have been banned from tonight's graduation ceremonies. Harper's name, too, has been prominent in social media reports regarding the attack that occurred in an Ellijay cabin after Calhoun High School's prom on May 10.

But Sanders says the lead detective on the case has told him that Harper is not a suspect. Capt. Frank Copeland, spokesman for the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office, was not available for comment by phone Friday afternoon and did not immediately return an email.

“I have thoroughly reviewed the pertinent evidence in the case and can state unequivocally that Rhett had no involvement with any alleged sexual assault and is not being investigated for committing any crime,” Sanders wrote on his Facebook page.

When a reporter showed up at his house Thursday afternoon, Harper said he was not allowed to talk about the case.

Also on Thursday, Whitfield County Schools spokesman Eric Beavers said Harper will participate in graduation ceremonies on Saturday afternoon.

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