Hamilton County Sheriff's Office reopens Hixson High School rape investigation

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office reopens Hixson High School rape investigation

January 23rd, 2018 by Meghan Mangrum in Local Regional News

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is reopening an investigation into an alleged rape of a student by another student at Hixson High School.

Earlier last week, the school resource officer at Hixson High was made aware of an alleged rape that occurred at the school after the incident was brought to the attention of faculty, according to a news release.

The case was closed, but was reopened Tuesday due to a family member of the victim sharing more information with deputies.

The alleged rape was reported to have taken place at the high school last fall, after regular school hours, according to Hamilton County Schools spokesman Tim Hensley.

The report was made by the victim on Jan. 12 to a faculty member and then school administrators, who then notified the school resource officer.

The report alleges that the victim was raped by another student after school in a stairwell at the high school last fall. At least one of the students was a minor, the release states.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office said the incident was investigated immediately and the proper agencies were notified, including Child Protective Services, the county's Criminal Investigations Division and the District Attorney's Office.

According to officials, the school resource officer spoke with the victim and the victim's custodial parent at the time of the report and the indication was neither wished to seek prosecution at that time. This information was relayed to the Criminal Investigations Division and no further action was taken.

When the family member reached out Monday to the sheriff's office, the District Attorney's Office was also contacted and made aware of the new information, according to the release. Investigators are now working with the District Attorney's Office in looking further into the allegations.

Since the school received the report on Jan. 12, the stairwell where the incident was reported to have occurred has been closed to staff and students and the school has changed its after-school procedures.

Students who are on campus after regular school hours now have to sign in and out in a specified location, Hensley said.

Hensley could not say if any disciplinary actions have followed the report, citing federal education privacy law. Hensley did state that all policies were followed.

"We followed School Board policies and the law for incidents like these," Hensley said. 'Those were followed in this incident."

According to state law, the Sheriff's Office is also limited on what details can be released since the case involves juveniles.

Contact staff writer Meghan Mangrum at mmangrum@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.

This story was updated Jan. 23, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.