SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. -- The Ooltewah High School senior charged with raping his 15-year-old basketball teammate will remain in juvenile court.
Sevier County Juvenile Court Judge Dwight Stokes decided Tuesday morning not to transfer the 18-year-old to adult court to face charges of aggravated rape and aggravated assault.
The 18-year-old was charged in juvenile court because he was 17 at the time he allegedly raped his teammate with a pool cue, rupturing his bladder and tearing his rectum, which required emergency surgery to repair, according to court records.
The 18-year-old's case remains in juvenile court and he will not be named by the Times Free Press.
Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston said there is an enormous difference in the potential sentencing for a teenager transferred to adult court.
"A juvenile can only be remanded to the Department of Children's Services until his 19th birthday, whereas an aggravated rape conviction in criminal court carries one of the stiffest punishments under Tennessee sentencing law," Pinkston said.
He added that a charge of aggravated rape in criminal court carries a sentence of 15 to 25 years, which is served in full.
The 18-year-old allegedly raped his freshman teammate Dec. 22 in the basement of a cabin the team was renting in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Two 16-year-olds allegedly held down the freshman while he sodomized him with the pool cue, court records say.
The 16-year-olds were also charged with aggravated rape and aggravated assault, but remain in Sevier County Juvenile Court where their files are sealed.
Ooltewah High School's basketball team was in Gatlinburg to compete in the Smoky Mountain Classic basketball tournament, and Pinkston said four boys were sexually assault with pool cues during the trip, but only the one boy was injured to the extent of needing surgery.
Ooltewah High School basketball head coach Andre "Tank" Montgomery, assistant coach Karl Williams and the school's Athletic Director Allard "Jesse" Nayadley also face charges in connection with this case.
The men face charges of failing to report child abuse or suspected child abuse during the trip, and Pinkston is expected to present the case to the Hamilton County Grand Jury this month.