New Details Revealed in Ooltewah Aggravated Rape Case
Sevier County, Tennessee officials released new information in the case of an Ooltewah High School freshman who police say was sodomized with a pool cue on December 22nd in a cabin in Gatlinburg during the Smoky Mountain Christmas Classic Basketball tournament.
Warning: the contents of this story are graphic.
On Friday morning, reporter Stephanie Santostasi traveled to Sevier County to petition information on the case.
Here's what she learned from a court petition, which she was allowed to see, but not take photographs of or remove from a certain room.
Two of the suspects are 16 years old. One of the suspects is 17 years old. The 17-year-old has an Ooltewah address, and the two 16-year-olds have a Chattanooga address.
The victim was later rushed to the hospital with serious internal injuries.
Quoting directly from the court petition on the two 16-year-old suspects:
"Your petitioner, Detective Rodney Burns of Gatlinburg Police Department respectfully represents to the court on information and belief that [name redacted], a child not within this county and 16/17 years of age is a delinquent child within the meaning of the law of the state of Tennessee in that said child in or about the 28th day of December 2015 did commit Aggravated Rape TCA 39-13-502. On 12/22/15, the defendant did assist in forcing and hold the victim down while another defendant took a pool cue stick and forced it into the rectum gland. The victim required hospitalization for several days at UTMC. The incident occurred at the rental cabin located at 508 Laurel Mountain Drive in Gatlinburg, TN."
Quoting directly from the court petition on the 17-year-old suspect:
"Your petitioner, Detective Rodney Burns of Gatlinburg Police Department respectfully represents to the court on information and belief that [name redacted], a child not within this county and 16/17 years of age is a delinquent child within the meaning of the law of the state of Tennessee in that said child in or about the 28th day of December 2015 did commit Aggravated Rape TCA 39-13-502. On 12/22/15, the defendant did take pool cue stick and force it into the rectum of the victim, causing serious injuries to repair his bladder, rectum, and prostate gland."
The petition also revealed that the incident happened at a cabin at 508 Laurel Mountain Road in Gatlinburg. The Sevier County Property Assessor's office confirms to NewsChannel 9 that the property owner, Jane Loftus, lives in Florida, and it is listed by the county as a nightly rental property.
NewsChannel 9 has learned that the next court hearing on the case is scheduled for Tuesday, January 26th, at 8:30 a.m. in juvenile court, with Judge Dwight Stokes presiding. A bond status for the suspects was not given.
The attorneys listed for the suspects are Jeff Stern, Joseph Fanduzz, and Samantha McCammon.
Background on the case:
On Christmas Eve, a day after the incident, NewsChannel 9 confirmed that the students involved would not be returning to school after the Christmas break.
NewsChannel 9 confirmed on Christmas Day that the three students involved in the case were let go from the team.
On January 1st, NewsChannel 9 confirmed through a family member that two of the students were denied bond.
On January 3rd, an attorney representing Coach Andre Montgomery released a statement on his behalf.
On January 5th, experts weighed in on what could and couldn't be revealed in the case.
On Monday, the Hamilton County D.A.'s office announced it was looking into the case, and looking for instances of past hazing or abuse.
Earlier this week, the victim's grandmother issued a public statement saying she is critical of how the case has been handled so far.
On Wednesday, Hamilton County School Superintendent Rick Smith made a 4-minute statement on the case. Watch that here. Smith said he and other school board members were under a gag order that prevented them from speaking about the case, but the Sevier County judge in the case has not released one. Yesterday we talked to an attorney about that discrepancy - watch that here. Earlier in the day he addressed the Hamilton County P.T.A. - watch that here.
Dozens of alumni of Ooltewah High School have written a public letter calling for a swift investigation.