War of words in Carmel bus assault case
Cat Andersen/Eyewitness News
Carmel - A day after the latest guilty plea in the Carmel basketball team assault case, the victim's mother is speaking out to Eyewitness News. Sheronda Davis says it is a case of sexual assault, but the 19-year-old former player's father maintains that the incident was just horseplay among teammates.
"This is the first day that we've been acknowledged as a victim," said Davis.
Sheronda Davis says Brandon Hoge's guilty plea is what she and her son have been waiting for, for a long time, as well as his apology in court.
"I can only pray that he meant it," she said.
The 19-year-old former Carmel High School basketball player pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery for an incident that happened on a school bus involving Davis' son. Hoge was ordered to serve 40 hours of community service, 180 days probation and was fined one dollar.
"I don't know that any prosecutor is ever satisfied with cases, but yes, given the age and the lack of any kind of a criminal background of the defendant as the judge said it was to be the expected outcome," said Patricia Baldwin, Hendricks County prosecutor.
Baldwin said given the evidence, it was difficult to prove that the victim was sexually assaulted. Several video clips from the school bus were missing.
"What could be proven was the B misdemeanor battery - the touching in a rude manner," she said.
Davis read a statement on behalf of her son in court. He said, "Whether the tape was erased, deleted or taped over, I know what they did to me. I'm reminded of it every day."
"The mother of the victim made a statement saying gooching and sodomization is the same thing. There again could not be a statement that was farther from the truth. A gooching is the same as a goosing which has happened for 40 years," said Craig Hoge, Brandon's father.
Hoge's father said his son would apologize for making the victim feel uncomfortable but that's as far as the apology would go.
"If you've not been in a locker room, if you've not been involved in sports, I'm not going to say that the locker room is a place for the weak. I know what I went through at a younger age and horseplay does happen. There's a bonding process," said Craig Hoge.
The Hendricks County Prosecutor said she will never release the video from the school bus, considering all the juveniles who were on that bus.. Baldwin says she's afraid if the video is released, it will end up on YouTube.