New report on Carmel assault substantiates abuse
Hamilton County - Four Carmel basketball players are accused of serious crimes that exceed the battery charges filed by prosecutors. The information comes from Child Protective Services reports.
In a two-page graphic report, the 14-year-old former Carmel High School freshman, told CPS the abuse started in November 2009 with the suspects flashing genitals in the locker room, grabbing and taking him to a shower where they would "penetrate him with their fingers." Students refer to the practice as "gooching."
"This is not hazing. Hazing is one thing. Sexual assault or criminal deviate conduct is another," said Robert Turner, victim's attorney.
Indiana's Child Protective Services appears to agree.
13 Investigates first broke the criminal investigation prompted by the opening of this CPS case from a emergency room visit by the 14-year-old and his parents.
"To get that document in the mail finally - I just want the truth to come out. At the end of the day, we have to focus on making sure that it does," said the victim's mother in a news conference Friday.
"Pretty much everything that my son had told me it's all in there," said the victim's father.
According to the report, a student told investigators "that they witnessed Scott Laskowski, Robert Kitzinger and Oscar Falodun 'gooch' multiple times."
On the bus ride home from Terre Haute, the 14-year-old says there was an awkward silence before Scott Laskowski grabbed his legs, Robert Kitzinger sat on his head and the "gooching" began.
In her report, case manager Amanda Wilson says she "received information from Detective Greg Dawson and the prosecutor's office regarding the video from the bus incident. It was reported that Brandon Hoge is seen in the video sticking his fingers inside (the 14-year old's) buttocks. DCS is awaiting a copy of the video for the file."
"If that video showed that, then that would be contradictory to what I have heard. I do think there should be a fair investigation and directed charges based upon the conduct that occurred," said Turner.
The victim's family is suing the school district.
In Carmel, the hot topic has opinion flowing. "The guys, the kids on the bus, I'm tired of hearing it," Carmel resident Pat said. "It surprises me they were indicted on misdemeanors, yes, and surprised me the way the children are now-a-days. Where their minds are."
Bill said, "I don't know about misdemeanors or felonies or like that but I know what's good behavior and what's not. You or I having a child wouldn't want that to happen. So are misdemeanor charges tough enough?"
"I think it's a travesty actually," Dan said. "You always hear these things about Carmel and unfortunately it seems like it's true. These are felonies. They would have been felonies in downtown Indianapolis or Noblesville, anyplace else it seems."
Pat said, "These are the kids that are going to be running our world here soon. That's what's even more frightening."
Attorneys for three of the four players charged in the case were either unavailable or didn't respond to media requests for comment regarding the Child Protective Services report.
According to the CPS report, One of the players charged, Oscar Falodun, told investigators that he never did anything of a sexual nature to the alleged victim, saying, "It was just pushing and stuff."
Falodun's Attorney Mark Sullivan declined to comment on the report saying it would violate a protective order on all of the state's evidence in the case. He did talk about his client's role last month in an interview.
"There were other people at that incident that may have committed acts unbeknownst to my client. But my client says that he did not commit any act that would be a criminal offense," said Sullivan.
Robert Kitzinger's attorneys, James H. Voyles, Jr. and Bruce Boje, released the following statement:
"The Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct govern the conduct of attorneys admitted to practice in Indiana. Rule 3.6 of these rules prohibits attorneys who are participating or have participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter from making extrajudicial statements in the media that will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding.
Over the course of the past two months, information has been released that has a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing this matter. In order to protect our client's right to a fair trial, we have moved the Hamilton Superior Court 3 to issue an order preventing the participants in this matter from issuing or disclosing the kind of statements barred by Rule 3.6.
The Indiana and United States Constitutions presume Robert Kitzinger is innocent of the criminal charges that have been filed against him unless and until he has been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We intend to vigorously defend against these charges in the appropriate forum - the courtroom."
Reached by email, prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp, who filed misdemeanor counts of battery and criminal recklessness against the four teens, also declined to comment on the CPS report saying that it's time for the process to be allowed to work.