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Oklahoma high school wrestlers plead not guilty to rape

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Four Oklahoma high school wrestlers have pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting two other wrestlers.

Mashburn said the wrestlers lured the 12-year-old to the back of the bus, where he was then sexually assaulted. Audio and video footage from the school bus has been recovered, depicting the disturbing crime during a trip back from a Norman North High School wrestling team tournament.

One of the alleged attacker was identified as 18-year-old Tanner Shipman.

Two other aged 17 and 16 were charged with three counts of rape by instrumentation. Their defense attorneys either could not be reached for comment Monday or declined to comment.

Soon afterward, the bus driver activated the interior lights and escorted the victim back to his seat, the documents say. The 12-year-old was assaulted in the same way shortly after. Shipman allegedly grabbed the victim and dragged him to the back of the bus.

It is unclear if Shipman and the others have lawyers; attempts to reach addresses listed in the charging documents were unsuccessful. Once the lights were turned back off, the alleged victim was persuaded to come to the back of the bus.

Norman Schools Superintendent Dr. Joseph Siano said in a statement: ‘Student safety is a top priority and we followed procedures we have in place that allow us to effectively investigate and take swift action in these situations.

“We will not tolerate individuals who victimize our students”, he said.

Siano said the district will continue to evaluate its procedures regarding student supervision, which the district believes are strong.

School officials say the four suspects have been suspended, one coach was sacked and a second coach resigned after being suspended.

The teenagers were accompanied to court by their parents and attorneys. Prosecutors could seek to have them treated as if they were adults. Should the minors also be charged with rape? If convicted, all four could face prison time, although sentences could be more lenient for youthful offenders.

4 Norman North students charged with sex crimes for wrestling bus incident

NanoNews.org

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