Reporting child abuse
State law about reporting child abuse:
Any person with reasonable cause to believe a child is being abused or neglected must, under the law, immediately report to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services or to local law enforcement. The reporter can remain anonymous.
Failure to report abuse is a violation of the law and a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of up to three months imprisonment, a fine or both. Those who report and “act in good faith” are immune from any civil or criminal charges which may result. The reporter has the right to remain confidential and anonymous.
To report abuse call 1-877-237-0004 or visit https://apps.tn.gov/carat/ in non-emergency situations.
Source: Tennessee Department of Children’s Services
Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston plans to put top school officials on the stand next month to testify about what they knew following the alleged rape of an Ooltewah High School freshman on Dec. 22.
Pinkston's office plans to subpoena Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith, Assistant Superintendent Lee McDade and Ooltewah High School Principal Jim Jarvis, Secondary Operations Director Steve Holmes, according to Melydia Clewell, spokeswoman for the District Attorney's office.
The three men will provide testimony in the Hamilton County Juvenile Court preliminary hearing of Ooltewah's head coach Andre "Tank" Montgomery, assistant coach Karl Williams and Athletic Director Allard "Jesse" Nayadley on Feb. 15. They face charges of failing to report child abuse or suspected child sexual abuse following the alleged assault of four freshman players by older teammates.
The assaults reportedly took place during the team's trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., and resulted in a 15-year-old player being rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery to repair his colon and bladder which were ruptured by a pool cue, according to court documents.
Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw in a hearing last week denied motions to dismiss charges.
"During last week's hearing, defense counsel argued that other school system employees should be charged with failure to report," Pinkston said Monday. "We have subpoenaed those employees to testify as to their knowledge of the events that took place in Sevier County."
According to court documents, no one from Ooltewah High School or the Hamilton County Department of Education reported the assaults to authorities, as required by law.
Pinkston previously said Montgomery, Williams and Nayadley are the only adults currently facing charges in Hamilton County because they had firsthand knowledge of the abuse and were in Sevier County during the assault. The investigation into this case remains ongoing.
Smith previously told the Times Free Press he, Jarvis and McDade were made aware of the assault the day after it happened on Dec. 23.
On Jan. 4, Jarvis told the teaching staff at Ooltewah High School he went to visit the 15-year-old victim at the hospital in Knoxville on Christmas Day, according to a recording of the meeting provided to the Times Free Press.
Since Jarvis was not in Sevier County during the assault, he is currently not facing charges along with the school's coaches and athletic director, Clewell said.
On the recording of the Jan. 4 meeting, Jarvis told teachers not to be quick to judge the situation or create a "Jerry Springer atmosphere."
"It's a tragic event that occurred," he said. "We'll get through it, and we'll make the best of it."
Two 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old are charged in Sevier County with aggravated rape and aggravated assault of the 15-year-old player. Sevier County Juvenile Court Judge Dwight Stokes ordered that the boys not return to Ooltewah High School.
All three boys were scheduled to appear in Sevier County Juvenile Court today, but court officials said the appearance has been postponed and their next appearance is not scheduled.
Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6592. Follow on twitter @kendi_and.
This story was updated on Jan. 26, 2016, to include Steve Holmes among those the District Attorney's office plans to subpoena.