High School Rape Charges Dismissed

April 4, 2003
Posted at: 9:23 p.m. CST

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. -- Pulaski County prosecutors say they are dropping all charges against nine Jacksonville High School students who had been accused of raping a classmate.

Prosecutors say they have reviewed the charges and said there may have been some sort of sexual activity on the day in January that a 15-year-old female says she was raped in a storage closet during school hours.

But prosecutors say they could not prove any kind of criminal activity. The students were charged with rape as adults, but as the testimony of the alleged victim was called into question, the students were allowed to return to school.

School officials said their investigation revealed that four of the students were not involved in the alleged incident. They said four other students had engaged in consensual sex.

Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley said he still had grave concerns about the situation, but said there was no evidence to support the charges. Attorneys for the students say the incident has ruined the students' reputations and they will suffer the effects for the rest of their lives.

Defense attorney John Walker said many people in the community rushed to judgment, with the students forced to try to prove their innocence.