Second student in 2015 Ooltewah High School rape settles federal case

Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga Times Free Press- 2/15/16. Defendants appear before Judge Robert Philyaw during a preliminary hearing for the Ooltewah High School basketball coaches and the school's athletic director in Hamilton County Juvenile Court on February 15, 2016. Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston charged head coach Andre "Tank" Montgomery, assistant coach Karl Williams and Athletic Director Allard "Jesse" Nayadley with failing to report child abuse or suspected child sexual abuse in connection with the rape of an Ooltewah High School freshman by his basketball teammates Dec. 22, 2015.

A second 2015 Ooltewah High School sex assault victim has settled a civil case with the Hamilton County Department of Education. But, much like a settlement from earlier this year, the terms are confidential.

Instead of going to trial in Chattanooga's U.S. District Court in January, department attorneys agreed to a "minor settlement" with the student, who is referred to as "Richard Roe" in court documents. That settlement is sealed, but court records show a state judge approved it Tuesday.

"John Doe" and "Richard Roe" are two of the four then-minors who say older classmates attacked them with pool cues during a December 2015 trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for a basketball tournament. On the night in question, with coaches either gone or not watching, Doe's classmates held him down and penetrated his rectum with a pool cue. Doe settled his case, also for a confidential amount, in September.

Roe, meanwhile, said he was prodded with a pool cue over his clothes but managed to escape further assault. He and Doe filed lawsuits in 2016 that U.S. District Court Judge Harry "Sandy" Mattice set for trial this December. After Doe's case settled, Roe's trial date moved to January.

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"Teammates Roe and Doe have bright futures," Chattanooga attorney Justin Gilbert, who helped represent the students, said Monday in a statement. "They triumphed over personal tragedy, created Title IX law for others, and made the schoolhouse safer for future student athletes."

Department attorneys did not respond to a request for comment. But during a hearing in August, they said they would not negotiate with Roe's attorneys. And in previous court documents, they argued Roe wasn't entitled to damages because he never suffered any physical injuries like Doe.

Emails from 2016 show Ooltewah's then principal, Jim Jarvis, told school attorneys four months after the incident that he was only aware of one victim - "John Doe." According to those emails, parents and victims told a hired investigator that no one from the school system had reached out to them about counseling or support. In a report released in August 2016, that investigator, Chattanooga attorney Courtney Bullard, found the students "had responses indicative of victims of sexual harassment" and said Ooltewah and the school system had "deficient" hazing policies.

Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.