Update 2/11/18 Victim #3 has decided NOT to complete a protective order, fearing that she might be encouraged to transfer as well.
This story, at the time, had three components.
- There is a victim of an 18 year old male student who has a Protective Order against him who she claimed molested her. She had to leave Hamilton Southeastern High School due to the lack of support she received from the administration.
- The school teachers and administration, many of whom were aware of this situation, then voted to make the perpetrator their Mr Royal-a role model for students and an example of the best the school has to offer.
- A number of well spoken female students reached out to Amy Smith and me, seeking to have their concerns heard. They believed that the school had not been responsive to the needs to the student, Victim #1, who was forced to leave the school in order to feel safe. These students reported a culture sexual harassment by male students in the school.They claimed that Mr Royal, as well as other male students associated with sports teams such as football, routinely sent nude pictures to female students. These pictures are/were not wanted. These young women are young and found it difficult to deal with such harassment.
After speaking with these students, I notified Detective Cesar Rodriguez who requested that the students save some of those pictures and give them to the police.
The IndyStar reported on the 3 protective orders.
The IndyStar got this story, Families of alleged rape victims say HSE failed: ‘They were protecting him and not her,‘ only half right for this very reason.
IndyStar does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse without their permission. IndyStar is not identifying the accused because he has not been arrested or charged with a crime.
Since they have declined to identify the perp in this situation, they cannot expose the greater story which was the school not only protected the male student but the school rewarded him with the title of Mr Royal. It was this story that caused a number of female students to rise up and call a foul on the part of the school administration. These student are the youngest representatives of the #metoo movement and have earned my profound respect. They do not feel safe in the school. Their observations mirror the same conclusions expressed by the victims and their parents.
The IndyStar would do well to thoroughly review this situation. There are some hard and obvious questions to be asked of the school administration.
- Why does it seem the male student got protected while the female students were/are the ones who are forced to transfer in order to feel safe?
- Are there teachers in the school actively advocating that students write letters on behalf of Mr. Royal?
- How much has the school done to look into the reports of the sexual harassment of female students by male students, often members of sports teams, who send unsolicited nude pictures?
- Do members of sports teams get a pass for sexual harassment since “every school needs a football team?”
- Are the female students being commended for standing up against sexual harassment? They should be congratulated for being the youngest females in the #metoo movement. These young women are well spoken and get the problem. Has the school reached out for their input or is football their only king?
However, the IndyStar got part of the article right. Could the school be called out for negligence in this matter?
Legal experts say a restraining order does not require a school district to do anything, although several contacted by IndyStar agreed it’s in a school’s best interest to help as much as possible. Some said it could be considered negligence or contempt if a school actively gets in the way of the order.
The school should work with the family to create a plan, said Julie Slavens, attorney for the Indiana School Boards Association. That could include taking the subject of the order out of extracurricular activities to keep them away from the alleged victim and preparing adults in the building to call police if the student makes illegal contact.
Schools have an obligation to keep all students safe, Slavens said, but they also have a responsibility to provide an education to all students.
When it comes to suspensions or expulsions, districts have to follow policies and legal obligations, she said. Hamilton Southeastern’s policy says the school can suspend or expel a student for outside activity only if it is “unlawful” and interferes with “school purpose” or “educational function.”
Slavens said an alleged rape would qualify as “unlawful activity” regardless of whether charges have been filed, but proving it interferes with school may be more difficult.
It’s important for school officials to be sensitive to the trauma these girls could be experiencing, said Kristen Pulice, chief operating officer for the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault.
For a victim of sexual assault, Pulice said being in the same building as the abuser can cause anxiety, depression, hyper-vigilance, isolation and flashbacks.
“Having to be around, or in the vicinity of, the perpetrator is not good,” she said. “It might not be just the perpetrator that she’s dealing with or having to avoid, but the people that he’s associated with. That creates a hostile environment for her.”
Concentrated peer pressure is one reason it often takes high school-aged girls longer to report an assault, Pulice said. They may question whether their peers, friends and even parents would believe them.
There are now 3 female students with protective orders against the same male student. Are we dealing with a predator?
The protective orders all name the same 18 year old male student who was recently *crowned* Mr. Royal. All three families reached out to me to tell me their stories.
This information changes things. This goes way beyond *buyers’ remorse* and seems to indicate the possibility of predatory behavior on the part of that one student. In fact, early onset of sexual predatory behavior is not uncommon. The US Department of Justice published Juveniles Who Commit Sex Offenses Against Minors:
- Juveniles account for more than one- third (35.6 percent) of those known to police to have committed sex offenses against minors.
- Juveniles who commit sex offenses against other children are more likely than adult sex offenders to offend in groups and at schools and to have more male victims and younger victims.
- Offenses against teenagers surge during mid to late adolescence, while offenses against victims under age 12 decline.
- Juvenile sex offenders comprise more than one-quarter (25.8 percent) of all sex offenders and more than one-third (35.6 percent) of sex offenders against juvenile victims
- As a proportion of the total, 38 percent are between ages 12 and 14, and 46 percent are between ages 15 and 17. The vast ma jority (93 percent) are male.
- Concern about juvenile sex offenders is a relatively recent phenomenon. Some communities have mobilized quite ener getically in recent years to identify and intervene with such youth, conducting extensive training among law enforce ment, child protection staff, and educators and establishing specialized treatment programs. In other communities, however, concern about the problem has been slow to develop.
- Thus, any effort to prevent or intervene in sexual assault and child molestation must address the risk that juvenile sex offenders pose.
- Prevention and deterrence messages should be directed to youthful audiences in schools, youth organiza tions, on the Internet, on youth-oriented media, and even in families.
- Fortunately, several intervention strategies have proven effective in reducing recidivism among teenage sex offenders, and communities should acquaint them selves with these approaches.
Yes, young male (and female) teens can become sexual predators. There is good news, however. If, and this is important, the authorities are well trained and there are smart local counseling venues, early intervention can help reduce recidivism.
The three moms of the high school victims speak out
I had the chance to dialogue with the moms of these young women who have been granted Protective Orders. They reached out to one another this past weekend for emotional support as they navigate the disappointing response of the school system.
In order to protect the identities of the victims, we will use pseudonyms. I shall use the name Mr. Royal for the male student.
These are the stories of the parents. However, to the inevitable lawyers who are reading this, every word in this entire post should be preceded with the word *Alleged.* However, I believe the narrative of the female students.
Victim #1 story: Had just turned 15 at the time of the assault
This student was barely 15 years old when she was assaulted in September 2017. Mr. Royal was 18 at the time. Her parents found out about the assault on 10/5/17 since Victim 1 was embarrassed and scared by the incident. At 7:30AM, that same day, they reported this to the school and met with the the guidance counselor. They requested that her schedule be coordinated in order to prevent her from bumping into Mr Royal. The school told them that their request for a coordinated schedule could not be granted. Instead, they were referred to school based therapy, something that the parents had not requested.
Also, there is a Fisher based police office within the school grounds. They were told that they could not report the assault in that venue. So, they went to the Fisher Police Department which referred them to the Noblesville Police department when they explained where the assault occurred. A criminal case was then opened and a referral was made to the Department of Child Services. Apparently the school did not report this incident to DCS.
After Victim 1 went through the forensic interview with the detective on October 11, the family filed for a Protective Order for their daughter which was granted. After a hearing on October 23, a Permanent Protective Order (PPO) was granted. That PPO did not include church or school since Mr Royal has a right to education and worship.
On October 23, the PPO was presented to the school. The parents were told by a Dean, Holly Reine, that the only way to keep their daughter safe was to transfer her out of the school. Reine was told that Victim 1 was receiving bullying texts from other students which were turned over to school. The family was told the students would be giving a “warning” which was seemingly mild given the school’s supposedly strict anti- bullying policy which claims to have *zero tolerance.”
Victim 1 began suffering from PTSD and the parents saw no other solution than to immediately transfer her out of the school on 10/23. The parents expressed that the administration in the new school has been very helpful and supportive of their daughter. Even so, she occasionally hears from other students who claim she is lying or question her motives. She was even told by one student that Mr. Royal’s parents paid her off which is not true.
This information was handed over to the detective who has sent this on to the prosecutor. They were told that it was unlikely that charges would be filed due to a *lack of physical evidence.* If this was said, then something is wrong. Physical evidence is NOT necessary for a rape to be investigate and prosecuted.
It is important to understand that Mr. Royal was 18 at the time of this contact. They have since been notified that the charges have been resubmitted but that is all they know..
Victim #2 Story: 17 at the time of the assault
The details of this assault will not be repeated here. However, suffice to say that it tracks with the reports of the other two victims. This victim began receiving nude pictures from Mr Royal in her freshman year at the school. She deleted all of them but said there were at least 20 and that she didn’t ask for them. A Protective Order was granted on 2/1/18 after an assault was reported by the student.
Taking matters into her own hands, this brave student notified the police on campus on 1/29/17 and emailed Mr Kegley on 1/31/18 to report the assault. She told him that she didn’t feel safe seeing Mr Royal in the hallways but that she didn’t have any classes with him. She admitted to having panic attacks when she saw him. The principal said he was sorry that she was having panic attacks and that she needed to see the guidance counselor. The police notified the parents that she had also reported the assault to them.
Her mom accompanied her to the counselor’s office. The counselor wanted her to be careful about talking about the sexual assault with her peers and offered advice on how to cope with seeing Mr Royal around the school. I guess they wouldn’t want to embarrass the outstanding Mr. Royal, would they?
This mom made an important point. She claimed that the school never directly reached out to the family, waiting, instead, for them to call the school. She said the following:
It shows how the victims are not their first priority even though they say that the safety of their students is their first priority in every blanket statement they make to the press.
I certainly think she has a point since all three parents expressed similar concerns. It appears that the school picks and chooses which students deserve to be protected in a He said/She said situation. It also appears to me that the male student wins out each in this instance.
The mom reports that there has yet to be harassment from the other students but she is not sure how many students know about it at this time. One female dean reached out to the student to say she felt bad for what the student was going through.
This past week, she was disturbed when Mr Royal, being the fine, upstanding role model that he is, waved at her. She went immediately to the office and met up with her parents.
Update 2/7/18 I received a text from the mom late this afternoon. Her daughter has elected to transfer to another school because of the panic attacks she gets when seeing Mr Royal walking around the school. She graduates in May but does not feel safe at her current school. This report breaks my heart.
Victim #3 Story: 14 years old at the time of the assault
This student began a friendship with Mr. Royal in December 2016. Her mom had met his parents and believed that the friendship was innocent. She would later learning that Mr Royal kissed her daughter a few times in a visit to his home in mid December. On December 19, Victim 3 sneaked out of her room during the night to “go look at Christmas lights” with Mr. Royal
When the parents discovered this on12/20, they had a conversation with her. At that time, the daughter said that Mr Royal forced her to perform oral sex on him. She was 14 when this occurred. She was upset and didn’t want to but he was rather forceful, becoming very mad. He pushed her head down and proceeded with an act that caused her to gag which made him more angry. Victim 3 begged her parents not to say anything because she was afraid of retaliation which she had heard happened with others who tried to deal with such encounters with him.
At this time, she had a number of nude texts from him along with texts in which he urged her to sneak out of her house. Unfortunately, the mom deleted those texts, thinking this was all over. It wasn’t. In August 2017, he allegedly told her that she was now the *one for him.* Mom asked her not to respond to him but later discovered a picture of her sitting with him at a football game. On September 12, she discovered that he convinced her to sneak out and talk to him because he “had changed.”
Mom took away her daughter’s cell phone and texted Mr Royal to leave her daughter alone. He asked to speak with her so he could tell her how he had changed. She refused. She then called Mr. Royal’s mother and asked her to tell her son to leave her daughter alone. His mother told her that she didn’t know what to do with him and didn’t know how to control him. She promised to tell him to leave the daughter alone and asked that she be called if he didn’t obey her wishes.
Victim 3 became concerned when she found out, in November 2017, that two of her friends had been approached by Mr. Royal for sexual encounters. One of those girls was 15. She decided that she needed to get counseling to sort out her feelings. Shortly thereafter, he was crowned *Mr Royal* and she became very upset. Then, she received texts from a student claiming that all those who chose to have sex with Mr Royal were the ones who had the problem.
The mom called the school and asked why he was chosen Mr. Royal. She asked to speak to Mr Kegley but Mr Hoover, the assistant principal called her back. He admonished her for not reporting the incident when it happened. He then asserted that Mr. Royal had won the award “fair and square.”
Digression for editor’s note: Folks, at this point, the school was aware of Victim 1 who had been forced to transfer out of the school. Why did teachers and the administration vote for him, knowing this was true? This needs to be investigated by the local media because it sure seems like alleged sexual assault should be a show stopper for a student to be picked as a role model. He was chosen *fair and square?* This is deeply concerning to me.
Mr Hoover called her back 3O minutes later and stated that he would inform the police of her report of her daughter’s sexual encounter with
the school role model (sorry-sarcasm intended) Mr Royal and then read her the canned statement “At HSE we take these matters very seriously…” (You can read that statement in my initial post. The victim’s mom said to me:
I didn’t feel like the school cared at all.
I have to agree with her assessment. There appears to be an inherent coldness to those who are victims of sexual assault. Could it be that male students are considered more worthy of protection?
Sadly, Mr Royal got a couple of days off from school but returned. The victim was approached by a female student calling her disgusting phase that I will not repeat here.
The victim and the family have decided that she will not be the one to transfer from the school. She has a 4.2 GPA. They believe that he should be the one to transfer.
They have now been granted a Protective Order against Mr Royal, the role model of HSE High School. Update 2/11/18: The family has decided not to complete the protective order because the other two students were encouraged to transfer and she wishes to remain at the school.
Update 2/7/17: A guidance counselor called the family today. This is the first time anyone from the school reached out to offer help. The counselor asked permission to alert her daughter’s teachers about the situation. She wanted the teachers to keep an eye out for her daughter in order to ensure that Mr Royal doesn’t attempt to speak with her. The mom gave her permission and said:
This is definitely a step in the right direction.
C’mon, school-this really isn’t that hard…
My prayers for the victims:
Contrary to popular belief, I can say that I believe that there are victims and I can say that I believe the victims. Just like I can say that I still believe that OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony are guilty even though the were declared “not guilty.” I am not the only one who believes that! My belief is not legal proof. But it is my belief, nonetheless.
To the three young women: I am so, so sorry. I believe that you were failed, not only by your abuser, but by a tone deaf school system. Some day, your experience will lead you to reach out and help many more women who will be abused in this fallen world in which we live. I shall pray that you become leaders in the #metoo movement. Find your voice and use it when you are ready. It may take some time but I believe in you. Can I ask you a favor? When you find that voice (and I know you will) will you let me know? I will want to share your story. You have much to offer all of us.
By the way, you have pretty awesome parents who also believe you and have your best interests at heart. Give them a hug once in awhile.
My thoughts on the response for the school.
I would have been inclined to cut the school some slack in attempting to navigate this situation but I will not do so. The outcome of the Mr Royal vote is indicative that there is more at play here than an innocent school trying its very best on behalf of all students.
It was absolutely unnecessary for that male student to receive that award. There were teachers and administrators that voted in that election that knew of Victim 1. She had been given no choice but to transfer to get away from this male student. So why did they elect him?
I have received reports from students have said that there is at least one teacher actively involved in trying to clear Mr Royal’s name by getting students to write letters on his behalf. Is this true? Given the outcome of Mr Royal, I would say that it is not beyond the realm of possibility.
- Does the school understand that this sort of response sounds quite lame in today’s current climate of scrutiny involving sexual abuse?
- Do they understand they have a #metoo situation on their hands?
- Does the school understand with three Protective Orders they now have much more serious situation on their hands?
- Is the safety of ALL students their priority or is the safety of male students who play sports their priority?
- Do female students occupy a lower rung than male students?
- Is there are *boys will be boys” attitude within the administration?
My encouragement of the female students who are taking a #metoo stand
My generation botched it up. We were the ones who were supposed to change the world. Instead, we left the mess for you, our younger sisters. It’s a world that expects women to go along with sexual harassment in order to keep a job or to avoid being harassed. You will soon leave that school and go into college and the work force. You will be startled to find that things are still the same. The good news is that younger women are waking up and taking a stand. You are well spoken and can see though the baloney.
Stand with your fellow students who are being sexually harassed. Expose these young men for what they are: creepsters. Collect those pictures. Turn the pictures into the police and embarrass those boys If you don’t, they will keep on doing this to women in college and in the workplace.
They may turn out to be another Anthony Weiner which is so disgusting. Do you know this story? He called himself Carlos Danger. This old guy sent pictures of his naked private parts to a teen age girl while his toddler son sat on the bed behind him. He used to be a Congressman!!! This is who creepsters at your school will grow up to be.
When I saw this commercial during the Super Bowl, I thought of all of you. Stand by the victims and stand with one another. You can make a difference. Show us how it is done. Maybe next year, they’ll make a commercial about all of you.