A statement released Friday by Jim Crum, attorney for Carmel defendant Brandon Hoge, refutes allegations made in the Child Protective Services Report. The entire statement is below:
"With regard to the CPS report released today by Robert Turner, attorney for one of the alleged victims, we believe some clarification at this time is necessary. As we have consistently insisted, we do not desire to try this case in the media. In fact, Rule 3.6 of the Indiana Rules of Professional conduct set forth very strict guidelines with regard to trial publicity. However, the rule also allows me to protect my client from undue prejudicial publicity initiated by others.
Accordingly, we felt it was important to clarify the import of the CPS report, and clear up the confusion between the alleged incidents.
" First, the CPS investigation was not nearly as thorough as the Carmel Police investigation. Statements that were given were not likely under oath, and upon advice of counsel, Mr. Hoge did not offer any rebuttal to the allegations. Accordingly, as is typical where no rebuttal is offered, the report is marked as substantiated. Furthermore as Ms. Leerkamp and Ms. Baldwin reported upon the filing of the indictment, as many as 50 witnesses and two prosecutors presented evidence to a grand jury, yet only misdemeanor indictments were handed down.
"Second, the statement in the report that Brandon Hoge is seen on the video sticking his fingers inside the buttocks of the alleged victim is completely and totally false. We have now had the opportunity to review video from the bus, and preliminarily review a number of statements from the kids on the bus. There is no deviant or felonious behavior depicted, and in fact most of the witnesses characterize the incident as horseplay. There likely were more than 25 people on the bus. We feel it is compelling that no one stated they witnessed any type of sexual assault with that many people very near the situation.
"Third, while the report does state that Carmel Police interviewed multiple students, only one "witness", other than the alleged victim is cited in the report. And this witness does not implicate Mr. Hoge as being present, or involved in any way. In fact, we believe, if tried, that the evidence would show that Mr. Hoge was not present in the locker room during any of the alleged incidents.
"Finally, contrary to the allegations of Mr. Turner, there has been no "influence" exerted by me or the Hoge family; and furthermore, we find no evidence that influence has been exerted by others involved.
"We hope that citizens will let the process work its way through the system based on the facts, and not reports of hearsay, before making any judgments."
Attorney For Brandon Hoge