Smith-Green Community School Board: Allegations of sexual assault in locker room unfounded

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 10:33 AM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - An investigation into reports of sexual assault in a junior high locker room at Smith-Green Community Schools has concluded the allegations are unfounded, according to the Smith-Green Community School Board.

Previously, the board admitted that bullying had occurred and students were punished.

Outside of bullying, reports of sexual assault were under investigation by the Indiana State Police and in the hands of a special prosecutor.

In a statement released Monday, the board released the following statement:

The Smith Green Community School Board is issuing the following response to the junior high school locker room incident and the public comments made at the October 11, 2021 School Board meeting.

That incident and the subsequent discussion sparked a lot of misinformation and malicious rumors about our students, schools, and community, which must now be addressed accurately.

As to the most concerning issue, based on the official investigations, the initial accusations of sexual assault, specifically sodomy, were determined to be unfounded. We must also make clear that Dr. Hile was not involved in the investigation in any way. No one received special consideration in the handling of this incident.

When building level administrators learned of certain allegations, they promptly reported the incident to law enforcement, as legally required. To avoid any potential conflict of interest, the Indiana State Police conducted the criminal investigation. At the same time, Churubusco Junior-Senior High School administrators conducted a school disciplinary investigation.

At the request of the school board, two experienced, well-respected, retired superintendents from outside the area reviewed the investigatory and discipline process. After conducting that audit, those superintendents determined that the process and the punishment imposed were proper, ethical, and appropriate.

Finally, and without question, we are confident in our district leadership; those leaders have repeatedly proven their academic, financial, and ethical capabilities. Dr. Hile’s work is recognized and respected regionally and nationally.

Vindictive social media crusades based on falsehoods, half-truths, and gossip cannot and will not alter our conviction that we have the best team in place to lead our schools.

As promised, the Board will review policies as they pertain to student conflicts and bullying with the community members selected from the survey. Those people will be notified of the specifics of that review in the near future.

Now it is time for us to move forward together as a community, making improvements where needed based on facts, not rumor, innuendo, or fabrication. Let us return to being proud of Smith-Green Community Schools and the entire Churubusco community

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