School board, attorneys meet privately about Ooltewah rape case

Miranda Perez introduces a group of panelists during a discussion at Ooltewah United Methodist Church on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Ooltewah, Tenn. The meeting was held for parents to hear from experts about signs of and solutions to bullying and abuse, and it was held in the wake of the sexual assault of an Ooltewah High School freshman during an overnight basketball trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., in December.

The Hamilton County school board met privately Tuesday night with Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston to discuss the ongoing criminal investigation into the alleged rape and assault of an Ooltewah High School freshman by three basketball teammates on Dec. 22.

The nine-member board, along with board attorney Scott Bennett, met with Pinkston for about 30 minutes to receive an update on the investigation. Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith was not present.

Ann Butterworth, assistant to the Tennessee Comptroller for Public Finance and Open Records Counsel, said state law allows the board to discuss pending litigation in private and receive a presentation from Pinkston about this case, as long as no deliberation toward a decision takes place.