- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 17, 2017

COALMONT, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee high school football team will get to finish its season even though five of its players are under house arrest, charged with attempted aggravated rape in an assault on a 15-year-old freshman boy.

The Grundy County school board voted 6-2 Monday to allow Grundy County High School’s season to continue, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported . A senior, three juniors and a freshman are accused of attempting to rape a 15-year-old freshman boy with a mop handle in the school’s field house early last Wednesday. The Associated Press doesn’t generally identify juveniles accused of crimes.

School district attorney Chuck Cagle said head coach Casey Tate and his brief replacement, Greg Brewer, were both relieved of coaching duties.

Cagle said suspending the football season would exclude the men’s basketball team from tournament play. He also said the suspension decision should rest with the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association.

The high school has two football games left in the season. Last Friday’s game against Upperman High School was canceled, citing an inexperienced coach and young team. The game’s forfeiture carried a $2,500 fee.

A dispute arose between the board members and Director of Schools Jessie Kinsey over appointing a new head coach. Board member Reuben Newsome said Kinsey had previously ignored the board’s and athletic committee’s recommendation to replace the entire coaching staff, after a previous incident in which boys got into a fight in unlocked facilities. Newsome said he thought the board should appoint the head coach, to which Cagle replied that the board didn’t have that legal authority.

Kinsey said that potential candidates were unwilling to take on the responsibility or were under investigation.

She also said that the school system will review policies, practices and procedures to prevent similar incidents.

The students, ages 15 to 17, are on house arrest and are receiving homebound education. Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum says it’s yet unknown if they will be tried as adults.


Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, https://www.timesfreepress.com

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