School board attorney addresses confusion over 'gag order' in Oo - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

School board attorney addresses confusion over 'gag order' in Ooltewah rape case

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Hamilton County School Superintendent Rick Smith enters an overflowing school board meeting room Wednesday night before a short public meeting. Times Free Press photo by Tim Barber Hamilton County School Superintendent Rick Smith enters an overflowing school board meeting room Wednesday night before a short public meeting. Times Free Press photo by Tim Barber

A court official in Sevier County, TN said there has not been an official gag order filed preventing Hamilton County school employees or school board members from discussing the alleged assault of an Ooltewah High School freshman by three of his basketball teammates, according to the Times Free Press.

In response, Hamilton County School Board attorney Scott Bennett told Channel Eyewitness News, "I have not yet seen a copy of any written order from Sevier County Juvenile Court sealing the file, restricting the comments of those involved, and prohibiting the defendants from returning to Ooltewah High School.  I have operated entirely based upon information from the detective and the Assistant District Attorney, who told me that the order had not yet been reduced to writing and entered." Bennett said he expects to receive it soon. 

He continued, "I have advised the Board based upon what the Assistant District Attorney has communicated to me.  Until I see an order to the contrary, I will have to operate under the assumption that what I understood from the Assistant District Attorney is correct.  I have also advised that ultimately, we would still have to honor the instructions from the Sevier County Assistant District Attorney and, more recently, the Hamilton County District Attorney even if we never see an order from Sevier County."

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