- Associated Press - Friday, March 18, 2016

SHOSHONE, Idaho (AP) - One of three teens charged with sexually assaulting a classmate in a southern Idaho high school locker room appeared in court Friday, when a judge signed a no-contact order between the accuser and defendant.

The defendant’s attorney, Michael Wood, told the judge that his 16-year-old client was not a threat and is friends with the accuser. Judge Mark Ingram Ingram disagreed and cited the seriousness of the charge stemming from the Oct. 22 attack at Dietrich High School.

“We simply don’t admit that there’s anything there besides friendship,” Wood said, according to the Times-News newspaper in Twin Falls (https://bit.ly/1MfImU7 ).

The teen has been charged with penetration by use of a foreign object. Idaho law mandates that juveniles age 14 to 18 accused of certain felony crimes on or near school campuses be charged as adults. That includes this sex assault charge.

School officials sent a letter to parents last November saying that allegations had been made of “wrongdoing between students.” The letter, signed by the school principal and superintendent, said officials were working on the “proper handling of the situation” and pledged full cooperation with law enforcement.

Superintendent Ben Hardcastle said last year that it was unclear if any coaches were present and noted that they typically don’t stand guard while students are showering and changing.

The Idaho attorney general’s office took over the investigation on Nov. 12. It filed the charges against the three teens March 4.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for April 22.

The Associated Press generally does not release the names of juveniles charged with crimes or the names of people who say they are victims of sexual assault.

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Information from: The Times-News, https://www.magicvalley.com

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