Study: Teen rape rate among nation's highest - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Study: Teen rape rate among nation's highest

Updated:
INDIANAPOLIS -

Indiana is battling a dubious title, as a state with one of the highest rates of teen rape. 

Thursday, prosecutors decided to charge a 16-year-old as an adult after he was accused of raping a classmate at Lawrence Central High School. Jabril Scruggs is accused of taking the girl from a common area to a locker room. 

Investigators have called the victim brave for coming forward right away. 

A spokesperson with the Marion County Prosecutor's office said the decision was made to charge Scruggs as an adult because no rape charge exists in the juvenile court system. 

School district officials called it an isolated incident and said it was not reflection of other students who attend Lawrence Central High School.   

"It's just wild that something like that could happen at the school in the middle of the school day without anybody finding out," said parent Brian McGrath as he picked up his teenage daughter from school at Lawrence Central Thursday.

McGrath said he's worried now about his own daughter's safety after learning about Tuesday's alleged rape in a gym locker room hallway.

"You think they're safe there and that this stuff don't happen, but it always happens in the place you don't think it will happen," said McGrath.

The Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault said what allegedly happened at the school could happen anywhere, and called sexual violence among teens an epidemic in the Hoosier state.

A 2010 study from the Centers for Disease Control though, suggests rape isn't an unexpected crime in Indiana.

The study found the Hoosier state is the second highest in the country when it comes to the rape of female high school students in grades nine through twelve.

"To have those kinds of numbers tell us what an epidemic, what a problem we have," said Anita Carpenter with the Indiana Coalition against Sexual Assault.

The problem, Carpenter said, is that no-one can really say why the numbers are so high in Indiana.

"I hope we get to the bottom of it though," she said, explaining that state legislature had just passed a law that commissioned a legislative study to be done this summer on the teen sexual assault and teen domestic violence.

Getting to the root of the problem though, said Carpenter, will be difficult because of so much silence surrounding the issue.

"Less than 25 percent of victims come forward to talk to law enforcement," explained Carpenter.

That's why the alleged victim in the case at Lawrence Central has been hailed for showing great courage in speaking up right away.

"She's got moxie, you know?" said Carpenter.

"She's just courageous and amazing and I hope that this message that she was able to come forward and speak out empowers, unfortunately, the next victim to be able to say 'Ok.  If she can do it, then I can do it,'" said Carpenter.

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