Principal speaks out about alleged robbery, rape of special need - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Principal speaks out about alleged robbery, rape of special needs student

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West Memphis High School Principal Jon Collins West Memphis High School Principal Jon Collins
WEST MEMPHIS, AR -

(WMC-TV) - The principal at West Memphis High School is speaking out and clearing up some questions following the news of the reported rape and beating of a special needs student.

Last month, the West Memphis Police Department began investigating a rape that was reported inside the high school bathroom. And now, three students are now facing charges.

Principal Jon Collins wants to make it clear that his staff did not initially know a rape had been reported.

"The only fact we were dealing with was that we had a potential robbery on campus," said Principal Collins.

Collins says the 16-year-old special needs student only told the assistant principal that three boys, who are also special needs students, tried to rob him in the bathroom. The assistant principal then told that student to go back to class while he investigated.

"The assistant principal comes back to the office pulls the surveillance tape and gets positive I.D. on the three kids who were the alleged suspects," said Collins.

Collins says the students range in age from 15 to 17. They were not in class, but there was just 10 minutes left in the school day, so they were marked as truant and their parents received a phone call.

Later that night is when Principal Collins got a call from police.

"That's the first I heard of sexual assault being mentioned," said Collins. "From that point forward we have cooperated with the local authorities."

The victim told police the other students tried to rob him, then beat him up, breaking two ribs. He said one of the boys also raped him.

Collins says school surveillance video shows the three suspects coming out of the bathroom. They are all charged as adults with battery and first degree rape and are out on bond.

The victim is now being home schooled.

Prosecutors made the decision to charge the three suspects as adults based on information about the attack and injuries to the victim.

Prosecutor Scott Ellington said the court system could decide to send the case to juvenile court.

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