School board discusses Carmel assault allegations


Richard Essex/Eyewitness News

Carmel - The Carmel Clay School Board addressed the police investigation involving allegations of assault by four basketball players. Board members say they're troubled by the details of the investigation.

Monday night's meeting was supposed to be a regular working school board meeting.

"I think it is important to acknowledge that we have had a difficult two weeks in the Carmel Clay school system," said school board President Andrew Klein.

But allegations that four high school basketball players abused freshman players in two separate incidents forced school board members into closed door meetings.

"Tonight, the Carmel Clay School Board met in executive session. The purpose has been to bring the board up to speed on the status of investigation," said board member Jeff Carter.

Three weeks since the allegations came to light, none of the names of the suspects or victims have been released, nor has the exact context of what is being investigated.

"I'm not able to discuss what we covered in that investigation, or that executive session. The next steps must await the completion of the Carmel Police Department's investigation. I will do nothing that will interfere with that investigation, which is ongoing," said Carter.

Reading from a prepared statement, Carmel Clay Superintendent Dr. Jeff Swensson gave the first public clue that the allegations are serious.

"I am deeply troubled and upset by the inappropriate behaviors that have emerged as a result of the school's investigation," Dr. Swensson read.

The investigation is in the hands of the Carmel Police Department and school administrators are trying to move forward.

"I think it's critical to identify and act upon lessons learned from this most serious situation," Dr. Swensson continued.

The school board says they are cooperating fully with the police department. There is no timeline when the investigation may be complete.

Meeting preview

The Carmel Clay school board will meet behind closed doors Monday night to discuss January's alleged assault involving basketball players at Carmel High School.

The board says it's seeking "with respect to any individual over whom it has jurisdiction: to receive information concerning the individual's alleged misconduct."

It's been three weeks since Carmel High School and the city's police department first heard two freshmen were grabbed, held down and assaulted in the back of a team bus by three senior basketball players on January 22nd. During the course of that investigation, a 17-year-old came forward saying he was assaulted in a boys' locker room on January 8th.

To date, there are no arrests, no full disclosures by police of what happened and no public statements by the coaches.

"There is a lot going on behind the scenes right now," said board spokesman Jeff Carter. "As far as the ongoing issues, we have gone back, you know the school's obviously talked to the teachers and the instructors and questioned them."

Carter vowed a week ago to implement more policies and accountability.

"If there's any wrongdoing that comes of these allegations, we'll deal with that swiftly and within our standard policies. We have serious questions, as well, what happened on that bus?" Carter said. "But let me be very clear, we'll deal with that when the police investigation is done."

Carmel bus assault - Read stories and documents and see video clips related to this case.