Judge issues gag order in Carmel bus assault case
Carmel - A Hamilton County judge has issued a gag order in the case of alleged abuse involving former members of the Carmel High School basketball team.
Attorneys for 19-year-old Robert Kitzinger, one of the accused players requested the gag order after what they call sensational and inaccurate news coverage.
On Friday, the judge initially ruled against a gag order, telling attorneys for the defendants that he would not issue one unless they were having a jury trial for their clients. After a short recess, the attorneys requested jury trials, and the judge decided on the gag order.
Four players are accused of assaulting other students in the locker room at Carmel High School and on a team bus. They're charged with misdemeanor battery and their trial is set for September.
Attorneys say the intense media coverage threatened to taint the trial of the case, which has been dogged from the beginning with charges of cover-ups and mishandling directed at police, school officials and prosecutors.
The request came after an attorney representing one of the alleged victims, Robert Turner, presented a report to the media last month from the Department of Child Services, which said that the teen had been sexually violated by the men charged in the case. The court sealed that report Friday.
"First of all, I don't make statements about whether the defendants are guilty or innocent," said Turner. "I've said that I don't like the way that it was handled."
The gag order will severely restrict public comment on the case.