Basketball players charged with rape of teammate won't be coming back to school

Superintendent says incident will be treated as "long-term suspension matter"

Ooltewah High School is photographed on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, near Chattanooga, Tenn.
photo Ooltewah High School is photographed on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, near Chattanooga, Tenn.

Hamilton County schools Superintendent Rick Smith said the three former Ooltewah High School basketball players charged with aggravated rape and assault will not be back in school come January.

"I expect we'll treat this as a very serious long-term suspension matter," Smith said Wednesday.

The three boys are charged with assaulting a freshman teammate on Dec. 22, forcing a pool cue into his rectum, puncturing his colon and bladder.

The assault happened during the team's stay at a rental cabin in Gatlinburg, Tenn., while playing in the Smoky Mountain Classic basketball tournament.

The players were removed from the team following the alleged assault, and have been held at the Sevier County Juvenile Detention Facility.

A bond hearing was set for today, and authorities in Gatlinburg say they cannot release the results of this hearing because the boys are minors.

Smith said the school district waited for the Gatlinburg Police Department to conclude its investigation before talking publicly about the incident.

On Monday, Smith plans to meet with Ooltewah school administrators to discuss bypassing the school's disciplinary procedures and having the case be handled directly by Assistant Superintendent Lee McDade.

The boys will likely face some sort of alternative school placement or be removed from the district completely, Smith said.

"We want to do whatever we can to make sure this doesn't happen again," Smith said.

Parents of players on the team say they hope serious disciplinary and legal action is taken against the three boys charged.

"What the boys did was malicious," one mom of a boy on the team said. "It was not regular behavior."

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