School board member speaks about Carmel assaults
Sandra Chapman/Eyewitness News
Carmel - The Carmel Clay School Board is voicing its own concerns about alleged assaults on students.
The first incident that was made public took place on Jan. 22nd and involved two freshmen on a boys' basketball team bus. Then a 17-year-old reported a Jan. 8th assault in the school's locker room. Police learned of the Jan. 8th incident while investigating the Jan. 22nd incident.
On a long bus ride home from Terre Haute January 22nd, two freshmen boys say they were assaulted by three senior basketball players while team coaches reportedly sat up front oblivious to it all.
Now for the first time since 13 Investigates uncovered a police investigation into the incident, a Carmel Clay School Board member is speaking out, and starting with the responsibility of the coaches.
"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 about what happened on that bus," said Jeff Carter, Carmel Clay School Board.
Carter says school officials alerted him shortly after they learned of it.
"I remember getting the phone call on this and saying to myself, 'This is not happening.' We had a pretty good idea from the start what the situation was, that was why immediately they called the Carmel Police Department, as is required by state law," said Carter.
But Carmel Police didn't open an investigation, nor did the department report the incident to Child Protective Services.
The CPS report that forced the department to open a case came three days later from a local hospital where one of the freshmen sought treatment.
During the course of interviews, a second case came to light of a 17-year-old assaulted in a locker room at school. According to the police report the incident happened at 1:30 in the afternoon on January 8th. In that case, Carmel Police notified CPS.
"I don't know what the young man said, but to have those two come up that close together, obviously it's concerning," said Carter.
The disturbing allegations of potential criminal sexual battery and criminal deviant conduct prompted statements at Monday night's council meeting. Members expressed confidence in the police investigation.
"That doesn't mean that we are not concerned. We are. But we are concerned as citizens and we are concerned as parents," said Rick Sharp, City Council president.
Board members are getting an earful from upset parents, as many as 30 calls on some nights. Carter wants parents to know they're taking action.
"The board is looking at a number of changes. Right now we're very much in the talking phase. But clearly there's some additional accountability that I think we're going to want to see," said Carter.
He also acknowledged parents' anger.
"I can tell you there are parents who are unhappy. They're nervous about the safety of their children; I understand that completely. Some of them are downright angry," said Carter, who added: "I would love to have the whole thing over today, but I also want it done right because we want to know exactly what happened. The Board will not tolerate this."
Bus tapes erased
Carter says tapes from the bus that could provide some evidence were reportedly erased when school officials pulled it to review an altercation involving other students.
"The time between when we were notified, and when we could have pulled the disc out of there was so long, that there was already something else that had transpired and it had already been taken out," said Carter.
As for the actions of the coaches on that bus January 22nd, Carter said: "We have serious questions as well...what happened on that bus. But let me very clear, we'll deal with that when the police investigation is done."
The athletic director at Carmel has declined Eyewitness News requests for on-camera interviews. After the school's sectional tournament game Monday night, we were able to speak with head coach Mark Galloway.
"Everything that you guys know, that there's an investigation and our administration's handled it very well," he said.