Alleged victim's family speaks out over Mr. Royal controversy

Talent contest winner sparks HSE controversy
Family upset at Mr Royal situation

FISHERS, Ind. (WTHR) – The controversy surrounding a high school talent show continues to grow - putting a spotlight on sexual assault.

A girl who says she was attacked by a fellow Hamilton Southeastern High School student on a date has since transferred to a different school after filing a protective order against the boy.

Her father says it's unacceptable that the the accused could be allowed to stay at school when his daughter had to transfer.

On top of that, the boy was allowed to participate and won the recent "Mr. Royal" talent show.

"As the victim and as a parent of the victim, it's just a punch in the gut and slap in the face," the girl's father told Eyewitness News on Saturday. "Its completely disrespectful, especially when there is an ongoing criminal investigation and permanent protective order in place. And there are continued allegations of sexual abuse, sexual assault against this individual."

Police have opened an investigation in the case.

Some Hamilton Southeastern High School students got up and walked out when the accused was selected as "Mr. Royal."

"I feel like most people were pretty angry about it," said one female student Friday. She asked we not identify her. "I saw people behind me getting up and walking out as soon as his name was said."

"People need to bring attention to this kind of thing because it happens all the time," said another female student.

Four female HSE students spoke to Eyewitness News with their parents' permission, each asking to remain anonymous. They told us they were concerned about who the school allowed as the selection of this year's Mr. Royal.

WTHR did some digging and found that the court had issued a protective order in October against the boy. According to a state database, the protective order is still in force.

HSE officials are not naming the male student. They issued a statement, acknowledging posts on social media about the Mr. Royal choice. In part, the message said:

"We take all information about inappropriate or illegal behavior seriously, and we are looking into the matter at this time along with our partners in law enforcement. The safety and wellbeing of our students is HSE Schools' first priority."

One of the four female students told us her experience.

"He just started sending photos (of a sexual nature) and asking for things like sexual favors and, like, I don't even know this kid."

That one complaint of inappropriate sexual conduct is part of the senior's pattern of behavior, the female students told us.

"This didn't start with him but this is where we want it to end, for sure," she said.

Eyewitness News went to the male student's home on Friday to ask for comment. When we rang the bell, someone inside said, "Don't even answer it." No one came to the door.

We also left a phone message seeking comment.

We found dozens of comments on social media using the hashtag #NotMyMr.Royal.

"I've never been so embarrassed and ashamed to have someone like him represent my school," said one student.

"What an insult to the victim of our 2018 Mr. Royal who was forced to transfer out of HSE," read another post.

"We just want people held accountable for their actions. We don't want this to go unheard," one of those four female students told us. All four said they were inspired to take a stand by the #MeToo movement.

"And if we are at a school that's supposed to foster and inspire excellence, this shouldn't be happening."