ROCKLAND — A state judge heard testimony Friday on an appeal by the mother of a Camden Hills Regional High School student who served an eight-day suspension last spring for an incident in which he has been charged with sexual assault.

Justice Bruce Mallonee said Dec. 20 he will accept written briefs from the attorneys for the Hope woman as well as the school district before issuing a ruling. The briefs will be submitted within 60 days.

Principal Shawn Carlson, Superintendent Maria Libby, and the mother testified at the Dec. 20 hearing. The boy and his father were in attendance and the parents of the alleged victim were also in the courtroom.

The mother testified that she was called to the school on May 20 to pick up her son. She said he was distraught and said he didn’t know what was going on.

The mother said she asked Carlson what had happened and he said he could not share any information with her and to contact Camden Police Detective Curt Andrick.

She said that she was never told of the allegation from the female student that a sexual assault had occurred in a car in a parking lot at the school.

On May 24, the woman said she received a call from the principal, saying her son had been suspended for eight days.

She said she got information from the school about the incident after the suspension was imposed.

The high school principal concluded that the boy’s conduct toward the girl was a violation of school rules and policies, leading to the eight-day suspension.

The case became public when the teen’s mother filed a lawsuit June 18 in the Knox County court seeking to overturn the suspension. The mother argues that her son’s constitutional rights were violated by the school’s actions.

Mallonee this year granted the request of the mother to have a hearing to determine the facts used by the principal in making his decision to suspend the student.

“The court cannot conduct a meaningful review of Principal Carlson’s decision if it does not know the facts upon which the decision was made,” Mallonee said at the time.

He later said, “The court emphasizes that the trial of the facts is not an opening to second guess the principal’s decision, instead, it will be conducted to establish the facts upon which Principal Carlson made his decision.”

The boy, who is 16 and from Hope, was charged in October with gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual touching in connection with a May 20 incident involving a 17-year-old girl in a car in the parking lot of the Camden Hills school.

The teenager has yet to answer to the charge. He waived his right to an initial court appearance on Oct. 16. He is next scheduled to be in Knox County court on Jan. 15.

The school immediately referred the matter to Camden police after the incident was reported by the girl. The District Attorney’ Office initially declined to prosecute but District Attorney Natasha Irving reviewed the case and decided to pursue prosecution after a follow-up investigation.

The boy is free pending the juvenile hearing. He is prohibited from contact with his accuser other than incidental contact at the school.

Documents filed in court by the school point out that the girl who reported the assault was found in the school hallway sobbing and inconsolable by a teacher. The girl reported that she told the boy multiple times to stop, but that he continued the assault.

The boy told school officials that the sexual conduct was consensual.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: