Carmel assault victim's attorney wants federal investigation
Sandra Chapman/13 Investigates
Indianapolis - A 15-year-old alleged Carmel High School assault victim speaks out for the first time to 13 Investigates. The student, who made the courageous decision to speak out in court a week ago, is now searching for answers as to why his case in Hamilton County was dropped.
"I'm very defensive at times. Emotionally, it's a big difference. I don't smile as much as I used to. I don't laugh and joke as much as I used to," said the student.
Speaking out for the very first time, the now 15-year-old former Carmel High School student, who says he was held down and assaulted on the back of a team bus and in a locker room by older basketball players, talks about thoughts of suicide and the lasting impact of the ordeal.
At times holding hands with his mother, he spoke to 13 Investigates about Scott Laskowski's plea deal, his own impact statement, and finding out days later that his case against Laskowski was one of two that Hamilton County Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp dismissed.
"Personally I wanted to hear why he did what he did. I didn't understand. I never really got an answer. I never got an apology," said the teen. "Every time I would hope it stopped. I wasn't sure if it was. I had a lot of doubts. I thought if I told a principal or something like that, it would be brushed off and they wouldn't believe me."
The 15-year-old's parents are furious and for the first time are showing their faces..
"We can't stay hidden anymore. We can't," said the boy's mother.
"I am disgusted, frustrated, and angry as far as what happened last week in court. We were not informed in that charges were being dropped in reference to my son," said his father.
The couple says they were misled to believe the guilty plea was for their son. They received a letter from Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp advising him of his right to make a statement, but never got to see the plea deal prior to court.
"This case was dismissed by Sonia Leerkamp, and only count two, relative to an admitted friend of Laskowski was accepted because they knew absolutely nothing was going to happen in terms of a lawsuit," said attorney Robert Turner.
"At that hearing, I couldn't believe my ears. It just made me want to take this piece of paper and rip it up," said the teen's mother, tearing the paper.
All their son received was a no-contact order telling Laskowski to stay away from him. Now their attorney is asking for a federal investigation of the entire case.
Late Friday afternoon, Eyewitness News talked with Hamilton County Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp to get her response to Turner's call for a federal investigation.
"I'm not certain or not whether it was specified in the end that Count 2, which was not the one that involved their son, was the one he was pleading guilty to. But we specified that that was part of the negotiations and we frequently do that. My decisions are open to any type of appropriate review at anytime so that's about all that I would have to say," said Leerkamp.
The prosecutor says she gave all the victims a chance to make a victim impact statement and kept the lawyers informed about the plea bargain.
But she didn't hand out written plea agreements until the deals were approved in court.
"Quite frankly, when you have someone who has gone so frequently to the press, we are reluctant, in these situations, to sit down and hand them a piece of paper that contains everything," Leerkamp said.
Leerkamp says anyone is welcome to investigate her decisions in the plea deal.
"This case as far as I'm concerned, is an outrage in terms of justice and civil rights. And I do intend to file a complaint with the United States Attorney to ask them to investigate not just the actions of the Hamilton County Prosecutor, but all officials involved," said Robert Turner.
Turner says he has finally seen the bus video and disputes that it's dark and grainy.
When Eyewitness News first broke this story earlier this year, we reported that it was Turner's client who went to Clarian North and started the investigation involving Child Protective Services. That investigation substantiated abuse against Laskowski and the other three defendants, Brandon Hoge, Oscar Falodun and Robert Kitzinger.
"What I had to go through was very tough, especially for my age. I feel like it made a big, big impact on my life. It made an impact on how I thought about things. It made an impact on me emotionally," said the teen.
"What I'm gonna do is ask the US attorney to look at this and to see if there has been any misconduct, if there's been any manipulation, witness tampering, evidence tampering, whether there has been obstruction of justice or a violation of my client's civil rights," said Turner.
Laskowski's plea deal requires him to testify against the other three defendants. They have been in negotiations, possibly trying to strike their own deals.