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2018-03-07 / Front Page

TAS, Sheriff’s Office Respond to Sexual Assault Incidents

Two teenage boys have been arrested and are facing charges of Criminal Sexual Conduct – 2nd Degree after a string of bullying incidents led to accusations of sexual assault toward another male high school student at Tahquamenon Area Schools (TAS).

Last Friday allegations began surfacing online through social media and blogs about the bullying and sexual assault incidents. The school and sheriff’s office were accused of attempting to cover up the incidents due to the lack of an official statement, despite having known about the incident for several weeks. This prompted a response from both the school and the Luce County Sheriff’s office.

Later that day the sheriff’s office issued a news release detailing when it became aware of the situation and how it proceeded.

According to the release, deputies were contacted about the sexual assault that occurred at TAS on February 16. Deputies responded to the alleged victim’s residence and conducted an investigation.

Through the course of interviewing the alleged male victim, several potential witnesses and the alleged suspects, a report was made and presented to the Luce County prosecutor for his review.

On February 28 warrants were issued, sworn to and signed for the arrest of two male subjects referencing the alleged sexual assault of a juvenile male.

On March 1 two male subjects, aged 17 and 18, were arrested by Luce County deputies. They are both facing charges of one count Criminal Sexual Conduct – 2nd Degree, maximum penalty of not more than 15 years imprisonment. The two subjects were arraigned in the 92nd District Court of Newberry on March 1 and released on bond.

Also on Friday, Tahquamenon Area Schools issued the following news release in response to the rumors and accusations that began spreading online:

“Media reports have recently surfaced regarding a student disciplinary matter that occurred at Newberry High School. One report in particular has insinuated that the Tahquamenon Area Schools has been engaged in some form of cover-up regarding the matter.

“Nothing could be further from the truth, though it should be understood that because of state and federal privacy laws, school districts are extremely limited in the information and details that can be discussed regarding individual student matters.

“That having been said, the School District would like to take this opportunity to clear up some facts and reassure the TAS community regarding these reports.

“A student issue was reported to NHS administration several weeks ago. School administrators immediately began investigating the matter. As soon as the facts of the matter were able to be responsibly determined, the School District acted to control the situation and recommend action to the superintendent and Board of Education. NHS administration also reported the matter to the police, which engaged in its own separate investigation.

“The School District has now completed its actions relative to the students involved in this matter. In so doing, TAS feels confident that it acted responsibly and in the best interests of all students involved and the school community as a whole. The protection and well-being of all TAS students is always of utmost concern for the School District and its administrators.

“While not all student incidents can be prevented, administrators have and will continue to work diligently to confront student concerns in an effort to create a school environment where students feel safe and secure.”

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