New charges sought against former Ooltewah basketball players

New charges sought against former Ooltewah basketball players

January 9th, 2016 by Kendi A. Rainwater in Local Regional News

Staff Photo by Kendi Anderson / The Sevier county courthouse is seen in Sevierville, Tenn.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Ooltewah High School head basketball coach Andrew "Tank" Montgomery has his hands full not only with his team but now with the rape and assault charges leveled at three of his now-dismissed players.

Ooltewah High School head basketball coach Andrew "Tank"...

Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. — The mother of an Ooltewah High School basketball player has asked that additional charges be filed against the three teens accused of raping and assaulting a 15-year-old teammate.

The mother said her son was one of the boys who was kicked, punched and hit with a pool cue by the three teammates during the team's trip to play in the Smoky Mountain Classic basketball tournament. She said officials in Sevier County interviewed her and her son, and Gatlinburg Detective Rodney Burns served the new charges to the boys Thursday.

Officials at the Gatlinburg Police Department would neither confirm nor deny the charges, citing an "ongoing investigation."

The mom will not be named by the Times Free Press to protect her son's identity.

According to Sevier County Juvenile Court records released Friday, the 15-year-old victim was pinned down on a bed by two 16-year-old teammates while a 17-year-old forced a pool cue stick into his rectum on Dec. 22 during a trip to Galtinburg. Records state the attack took place at a rented cabin at 508 Laurel Mountain Drive in Gatlinburg.

The three teens who participated in the attack were charged Dec. 28 with aggravated assault and aggravated rape, records show.

The victim sustained injuries requiring hospitalization for several days at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, according to the records.

Several boys were assaulted, but the 15-year-old "got it worse" because he spoke up to coaches about hazing, the mom and other sources have told the Times Free Press.

The 17-year-old boy's petition listed him and a father as living in Ooltewah. The younger defendants are both listed as living in Chattanooga with their parents.

Court records for the two 16-year-olds each state the defendants "did assist in forcing and holding the victim down while another defendant took a pool cue stick and forced it into the rectum of the victim causing serious injuries to the victim that required surgery to repair his bladder, rectum, and prostate gland."

Sevier County Judge Dwight Stokes, who is hearing the case, released the juveniles' records under Tennessee state law, which grants judges' discretion to release court orders pertaining to juveniles if the defendants are accused of a severe charge like aggravated rape and were at least 14 years old when the crime was committed.

Court officials said they could not confirm if a bond hearing has taken place for any of the boys or if they remain in custody, but did say a tentative court date is set for all three boys on Jan. 26 at 8:30 a.m.

The attorneys, each representing one of the boys, are Joseph Fanduzz of Knoxville, and Jeff Stern and Samantha McCammon of Sevier County, according to court officials.

The incident caused Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith to cancel the remainder of Ooltewah High School's boys' varsity and junior varsity basketball seasons Wednesday.

The mother who requested the additional charges said she is sad for the team that the season was canceled, but she is more frustrated with how the school system is handling the entire situation.

"They are being so hush, hush," she said Friday. "They won't answer any of my questions, and say only the attorney can talk."

The mother thinks the least the district can do is provide counseling for the boys on the team.

"These boys need to start counseling immediately," she said. "What happened during that trip is traumatic."

The Hamilton County Board of Education is scheduled to have a work session Thursday and a regular meeting on Jan. 21.

After the work session, the Policy Committee, chaired by school board member Greg Martin, will hold a meeting to review existing policies on extracurricular activities, field trips, supervision of students and and suspension/dismissal of teachers. The committee also will discuss harassment, hazing and bullying, according to an email from Ann Bates, executive assistant to the school board.

Public comments are not accepted at work sessions or committee meetings, but the meetings are open to the public. Public comments will be heard at the regular session meeting the following week.

Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at kendi.anderson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592. Follow on twitter @kendi_and.

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