Teen to be Charged in FCHS Summer School Assault

The Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office said a male juvenile will be charged with assault and battery  after a female student claims she was sexually propositioned and inappropriately touched earlier this month during summer school sessions at Fairfield Central High School. The juvenile in the case is reportedly one of the three young men who pleaded guilty in March following an assault of a sexual nature in a Fairfield Central classroom.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, a 15-year-old female student was in the Fairfield Central High School cafeteria July 2 when she was approached by three 15-year-old male students, two of whom reportedly offered her $5 to perform a sexual act on them. According to the incident report, the victim said she was hindered from leaving the area by one of the suspects. The Sheriff’s Office said that while none of the male subjects physically restrained the victim, she was sitting at a corner table in the cafeteria and the subjects had her boxed in at the time.

The victim also stated that one of the male subjects touched her inappropriately on her thigh in her private area, according to the incident report.

A second female student later told investigators that she was also approached by one of the same 15-year-old male students in the cafeteria at Fairfield Central on July 2 and was also asked by the suspect to perform a sexual act. The second victim did not wish to pursue charges, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that charges will been filed against the male juvenile who had actually touched the victim. The 15-year-old will be charged with third-degree assault and battery through the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), the Sheriff’s Office said. The other two juveniles will not be charged.

The juvenile expected to be charged in the July 2 incident was also involved in a March 12 incident that cost a teacher his job and triggered a civil lawsuit. All three of the juvenile males who later pleaded guilty to the March 12 classroom assault are back in the school system, School Board Chairwoman Andrea Harrison confirmed last week, after serving a suspension and being reassigned to Gordon Odyssey Academy.

“Of course, we don’t want to have children out of school,” Harrison said. “We do try to follow the Code of Conduct, while at the same time not take children away from a learning atmosphere.”

The District’s Code of Conduct states that the District “will exercise a zero-tolerance for all Level 3 disciplinary infractions,” which, according to the policy, includes sexual offenses and assault and battery. Action taken for Level 3 offenses includes a referral to administration, contacting parents, suspension pending expulsion hearing and notification of the School Resource Officer and appropriate citation.

On March 12 a teacher at Fairfield Central High School left his classroom unattended for several minutes, during which time a 14-year-old male student and two 15-year-old male students reportedly assaulted a 14-year-old female student, touching her inappropriately, pulling her shirt down and taking pictures of her exposed body with their cell phone cameras.

An incident report from the event states that the victim attempted to get away from the suspects, moving from her desk to sit on the floor against the wall. The suspects reportedly followed and physically restrained her on the floor, again pulling her shirt down. One suspect allegedly placed his mouth on the victim’s exposed body while the other suspects reportedly continued touching her inappropriately.

The suspects were arrested March 14 and charged with first-degree assault and battery.

All three students went through the legal process, Harrison said, through DJJ. The students pleaded guilty in Family Court in late March and received probation. After serving 10 days of suspension, the students were enrolled in Gordon Odyssey.

Before reinstatement, the students appeared before the District’s Disciplinary Committee, which consists of Harrison and Board Member Henry Miller.

“Zero tolerance means zero tolerance,” Harrison said. “It could be that we didn’t enforce zero tolerance. It could be that I didn’t know it was listed as a zero-tolerance issue. It may be something we will have to go back and look at. I won’t say we made a mistake, because our ultimate goal is to make sure our children get an education.”

Harrison said the Disciplinary Committee has not, in the last year, made reports of their activities to the full Board.

“The students know who has come before the Committee,” Harrison said, “so, for me, it is a confidentiality issue.”

Harrison also said that, with a new superintendent installed, she hopes to dissolve the Disciplinary Committee and relegate those issues to a Disciplinary Officer.

On April 16, the family of the female victim in the March 12 incident filed a lawsuit against the District, claiming that the victim has suffered emotional distress as a result of the assault. The suit claims that the victim returned to school shortly after the incident but was verbally harassed by other students. As a result, the lawsuit states, the victim went on home-bound status. Prior to the assault, the lawsuit notes, the victim had been an honor roll student at Fairfield Central High School.