ATTORNEY: No adult wrong-doing during Ooltewah trip - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

ATTORNEY: No adult wrong-doing during Ooltewah trip

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: After nearly an hour-long executive meeting, Hamilton County school board members, Superintendent Rick Smith and the school system's attorney returned to a room of concerned parents, students and faculty. 

READ MORE | Hamilton County Superintendent Rick Smith's statement

But after a statement ready by the chairman, the duly-elected public servants chose silence. The public portion of the meeting lasted only five minutes. 

"Because this is an ongoing investigation, I'm extremely limited in what I can say publicly. But I do want everyone to know how heartbroken I am personally about this," Smith read in a prepared statement. 

After Chairman Dr. Jonathan Welch read another prepared statement, the meeting was adjourned. No questions from the community, no comments allowed. 

READ MORE | Hamilton Co. School Board Chairman Dr. Jonathan Welch's statement

Hamilton County School Attorney Scott Bennett cited a number of reasons for the code of silence: A long standing practice of not commenting on criminal investigations and judge's orders. 

"In this particular case, there's actually an order that's gone down from juvenile court that's actually prohibited us from talking about this. Our hands have been tied from the very beginning, we have not been allowed to comment," Bennett added. 

Parents packed the special called meeting hoping to learn more about how a high school basketball player was raped on a team trip and, more importantly, find out if their children are safe. 

"Law enforcement officials shared with us that in this point in time, there's no evidence whatsoever that an employee acted improperly. There's no evidence whatsoever that any adult who's affiliated with the school system failed to do his or her job," he said. 

In the two weeks since the incident happened, more agencies have joined the investigation including the Hamilton County District Attorney. He's asked the sheriff to open an administrative review that could lead to more arrests. 

"To find out whether there's a pattern, whether there's other incidents that might relate to this kind of situation. We've received full cooperation from the superintendent and school board and staff," Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond said. 

Now the team's season ended as the victim continues to recover. The three teammates charged are due in court on January 26th in Sevier County Juvenile Court. 

School board members say they have a special committee that reviews policies and they say that committee will review the district's hazing and bullying policy at their next meeting. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Hamilton County School Board members are currently meeting behind closed doors with lawyers regarding the Ooltewah High School rape case.

Executive sessions are not open to the public. After members are finished meeting with lawyers, they will hold a special called session that is open to the public.

Channel 3 caught up with District 3 member Dr. Greg Martin as he was walking into the meeting.

"I want clarification as to what exactly has gone on. I think the board has been kept to a great degree in the dark as far as what has gone on. My main concern is the child and his family," he said.

Board members also expect to review the district's bullying and hazing policy.

Stay with Ch. 3 for updates from tonight's meeting.

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