Cook: Crimes of silence in Ooltewah

A large crowd gathers inside the school board meeting room Wednesday night.
photo David Cook

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For a moment, let's imagine the pool cue didn't rupture the teen's colon, didn't tear into his bladder.

Let's imagine it did less damage.

That means the 15-year-old freshman basketball player would have never been taken that December night to the Sevierville hospital.

No doctors would have seen him.

No police.

No media.

The boy? There is a terrible, very real possibility that he would have stumbled back to his room. There, weeping and bleeding, to internalize his suffering and shame, refusing, in the way that many rape victims do, to go public.

And the three teenage teammates charged with the assault would have woken up the next morning and played their tournament game as if nothing happened.