Police look into Carmel bus assault


Tuesday update - School administrators issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

"At this point no charges have been filed, no arrests have been made and no summonses have been issued."

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Carmel - Police are investigating an incident involving members of the Carmel High School boys' basketball team. The alleged incident occurred on the team bus ride home from an away game on January 22nd.

"It was terrible what happened, and we're embarrassed and just as disgusted as anybody else," said Carmel High School Principal John Williams.

Williams says what happened to two freshmen boys assaulted in the back of a bus by three Carmel basketball players is serious. Hospital staff where one of the boys was treated made a report to Child Protective Services.

Under state law, doctors and schools must alert authorities to any allegation or suspicion of sexual or physical abuse against a child. That report is now prompting a criminal investigation by Carmel Police.

Police remain close-lipped about the incident and say the department is investigating three counts, including battery, criminal deviate conduct and criminal confinement.

School officials say, too, they followed the law.

"We've been in touch with the police from the very onset of this, and told the police everything that we knew about this situation," said Williams.

According to Williams, the school proceeded with its own investigation as advised by police. He also informed parents of the victimized boys they could file a police report. Neither did. But now everyone involved will be questioned.

"Now that the police are involved, we're certainly going to cooperate completely with the police," said Williams.

There was no discussion of the alleged incident at the Carmel School Board meeting Monday night and none of the parents in attendance had anything to say about it.

"I can not speak about student discipline and their privacy is part of this," said Superintendent Dr. Jeff Swensson.

Carmel Police refused to speak with Eyewitness News about why the department would not investigate initially. But by phone, a spokesman said the department did not receive the same information that the hospital received.

"I'm not going to get into what other people should have done. I'm worried about what we did. And I feel very good about what we did," said Williams.

"Certainly, we are very strict and very serious about infractions to the rules. We will apply, and I think we have already applied, again, based on the level of our knowledge, and if that knowledge grows - because we are continuing to investigate - then we will continue to take action as appropriate," said Dr. Swensson.

Williams says he first characterized the acts as bullying, but says that same harassment policy also includes sexual and physical assault.

"We're certainly discouraged and sad that kids were harassed," said Williams.

"Everyone in the district takes an incident of bullying very seriously and I'm pleased to have learned that our administration, both at the high school and here, acted very quickly once they heard there was an incident," said Board President Andrew Klein.

The Indianapolis Star reports that three basketball players, who are starters on the team, have been suspended for five days in connection with the incident. The suspended players will be allowed back in school on Wednesday.

The varsity basketball team is scheduled to play its last regular season game this coming Friday. School administrators will not say if they will be allowed to play.

"Students can make very bad choices. Ones that are just very painful," said Dr. Swensson.

(Eyewitness News reporters Sandra Chapman and Richard Essex contributed to this story.)