Parents of victims in Ooltewah rape case upset suspect won't be tried as adult

The exterior of Ooltewah High School photographed on Sunday, January 31, 2016. (Staff photo by Maura Friedman)

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. - Parents of victims wiped tears from their faces Tuesday afternoon as a Sevier County judge announced that the former Ooltewah High School senior who allegedly assaulted their sons would be tried as a juvenile.

Just hours before the announcement, three former Ooltewah freshmen took the stand and testified about being assaulted by their former basketball teammate, who sat before them in an orange jumpsuit. One 15-year-old told the packed courtroom he was held down by two teammates while the defendant penetrated him with a pool cue, rupturing his bladder, despite his screams to stop.

The now-18-year-old defendant faces charges of aggravated rape and aggravated assault in the incident. He will not be transferred to adult court, where he would have faced much steeper penalties.