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District Led Investigation Into Locker-Room Assault

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An investigation into the sexual assault of a black football player with disabilities by his white teammates at a small-town Idaho high school showed that crucial evidence was collected by school employees, not law-enforcement officials.

John R. K. Howard and two teammates were charged with sodomizing the victim with a clothes hanger in 2015 in the locker room at the high school. The sex-assault charge against Howard, who was 18 at the time, was dropped. He was sentenced last month to probation for felony injury to a child. The other two cases are sealed in juvenile court.

An Associated Press review of roughly 2,000 pages of documents found that school officials waited four days to report the crime. Instead, Superintendent Ben Hardcastle gathered evidence and began interviewing the suspects potential witnesses before notifying the sheriff's department.

Fellow students, neighbors, and even football coaches were allowed to pressure the 17-year-old victim about his testimony.

Vol. 36, Issue 24, Page 4

Published in Print: March 8, 2017, as District Led Investigation Into Locker-Room Assault
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