UPDATE: 3 suspects in custody in alleged post-prom rape
A post-prom party is now the subject of a criminal investigation in north Georgia after an attendee says she was raped.
Thursday, May 15th 2014, 2:59 pm EDT
We now have a closer look into who the rapes suspects are in the post-prom incident.
Nearly the entire Gilmer County Detective Division has been working on the case conducting more than 50 interviews. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is also involved.
Fields Chapman, Andrew Haynes and Avery Johnson, were all seniors at Calhoun High School this year.
All were student-athletes; Chapman was a quarterback, Haynes, a receiver on the Yellowjackets football team.
Johnson was an infielder and a pitcher on the baseball team.
The Times Free Press reports he had committed to play at Georgia Highlands College.
The three were not allowed to attend graduation ceremonies.
The school board said they were protecting other students by keeping the trio from the commencement.
All 3 suspects turned themselves in Wednesday at the Gilmer Co. Jail after the warrants were handed down. Sheriff Stacey Nicholson says after 18 days of investigation and more than 50 interviews, his team of detectives is convinced all 3 participated in the sexual attack.
The case stems from a party at a cabin in Coosawattee River resort following the Calhoun High School prom May 10th. An 18-year-old girl says she passed out in a bathroom and was sexually attacked by several guys but didn't know who. Investigators say witness interviews and forensic evidence offered answers.
"About 3 days into the investigation we kind of knew which way we were headed with this and we just wanted to get all we could before we put people in jail."
The Gilmer Co. Sheriff's Office says they now have enough evidence to charge Fields Chapman, Damon Avery Johnson and
"Her injuries were substantial. Respectfully speaking to I've been here 23 yrs. her injuries were substantial."
Detectives say no parents were at the cabin where nearly thirty people, all under 20 spent several hours drinking beer and liquor leading up to the alleged sexual attack in a bedroom.
"Teens and alcohol do not mix. They do not mix. There's nothing good that can come of it and its not just a little innocent fun."
Investigators says they plan to file charges against everyone they can prove was drinking "and" more serious charges could come down against some other attendees.
Detectives say no one attempted to stop the attack. The legal charge is aggravated sexual battery and not rape... for one reason.
"We cannot say intercourse occurred."
If convicted each suspect faces 25 years to life in prison.
The Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office confirms three warrants have been issued in the alleged rape following the Calhoun High School prom.
The Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office issued warrants for Fields Chapman, Andrew Haynes and Avery Johnson, charging the three with aggravated sexual battery and underage consumption. All three men are 18 years old.
The suspects are now in custody and have been booked, with bond being set at $51,000 for each suspect.
Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson says 18-year-old girl suffered "substantial" injuries from the sexual assault at after-prom party.
Fifty or more interviews were conducted by Gilmer Count Sheriff's Office investigators, with Nicholson saying it's been an emotional 18 days investigating this case. The entire detective division have been working on the case.
Authorities have said there was a large amount of alcohol at the party, and the men have also been charged with consumption of alcohol by a minor.
The schoolyard rumor that's been swirling around Calhoun High School and much of Gordon County is seemingly substantiated, with confirmation from the Gilmer County sheriff that he is investigating an alleged sexual assault reported over the weekend.
"We're looking at a report that there was a rape," says Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson, who says it involves a young woman and as many as 3 suspects, none of whom are minors. " If it is determined there was a crime, the charges will be adult and not juvenile," says Sheriff Nicholson.
According to Gilmer detectives, the incident happened late Saturday night at a cabin inside the Coosawattee River Resort, a gated community just outside Ellijay. Detectives say as many as two dozen partygoers were drinking alcohol, with many, if not all who were intoxicated.
The allegations have stunned residents of the ritzy subdivision.
"I am sure there are plenty like myself who are shocked by the news," says Mark Congdon of Ellijay.
Much of the same reaction Thursday night in Calhoun." It's disgusting, it's gross, as a parent I have to wonder if my children are safe," says Andrew Yarborough as he watches his son's t-ball game across the street from Calhoun High School.
"The individuals who have been pointed out have been questioned," adds Sheriff Nicholson.
As of now, no charges have been filed or arrests made but Nicholson stresses his investigation is in an early stage.
The purported victim says her attackers were football players.
Calhoun city school officials say they are cooperating with authorities.