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Hamilton Co. School Board responds to federal lawsuit in OHS rape case

Charles Purcell filed a 22-page response to the complaint asking for the federal lawsuit to be dismissed. (Image: WTVC)

UPDATE: The attorney representing Andre Montgomery and Jesse Nayadley has also issued a response to the lawsuit, saying that both men are not responsible for what happened.

Read the full ruling below:

ORIGINAL STORY:

Defense attorneys for the Hamilton County Board of Education and three former Ooltewah High School employees have issued a response to a federal lawsuit filed by the family of an OHS student who was raped with a pool cue during a hazing incident at a cabin in Gatlinburg last December.

Charles Purcell filed a 22-page response to the complaint asking for the federal lawsuit to be dismissed.

Read the full response below:

The lawsuit claims employees, including administrators, teachers and coaches at Ooltewah High School were aware of a "culture of abuse" that existed at the school for years before the December 23rd incident.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of one of the victims, who is referred to in the suit as "John Doe." He required hospitalization after being raped with a pool cue, the tip of which broke off inside of him. That required surgery and weeks of recovery in the hospital.

Three upperclassmen basketball players were convicted in August in Sevier County for the crimes, and sentenced in October.

The response, represented not the boys involved but the school system and the school officials involved at the time of the incident.

The response to the lawsuit makes it clear that the responsiblity for knowing about a pattern of abuse rests with the parents of the juveniles convicted, not any school officials.

This is a developing story. Depend on NewsChannel 9 for updates as we get them.

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