Rape At The High School

The Shakerite’s continuous coverage

Student Arrested For Rape at School — Original story. Student arrested for alleged rape. District originally characterized it as alleged assault, then alleged sexual assault.

A Shaker Heights High School student was arrested at the high school for the alleged rape of a female student Sept. 10.

In a letter to parents, sent the afternoon of Sept. 11, Principal Michael Griffith stated the incident involved “an allegation of assault.” The letter did not state explicitly that the incident involved alleged rape.

However, a Shaker Heights Police Department incident report obtained by The Shakerite that day confirmed the incident as alleged rape.

Director of Communication Peggy Caldwell explained that when the letter was composed, district officials understood the charge to be assault.


District Prepares for Police Investigation, Media Coverage — Griffith reaches out to faculty; Hutchings reaches out to parents.

In an email sent to school faculty Sept. 11 around 9:30 p.m., Principal Michael Griffith wrote that, earlier that evening, he “became aware that after further investigation and discussion between the prosecutor and investigating officer, they have upgraded the charge to sexual assault.”

Griffith referenced coverage by local news stations and The Shakerite and told teachers to send all media inquiries to district Director of Communications Peggy Caldwell.

Shortly after publication, Superintendent Gregory C. Hutchings sent a district-wide email to families.

In order to not “compromise the ongoing investigation or the rights of the students involved,” Hutchings did not share much new information. Hutchings wrote that “the senior staff initiated a thorough review of security procedures to determine how we can improve supervision in the building” on Wednesday.


Police Chief Lee Outlines Investigative Process Lee says both students are 15 years old, contradicting earlier reports; Lee and Hutchings discuss miscommunication between district and local police. Lee discusses the legal process from here.

Shaker Heights Police Department Chief Scott Lee told The Shakerite that both the suspect and victim involved in the Sept. 10 alleged rape at the high school are 15 years old.

This assertion contradicts reports by local TV news stations that either the suspect or both the suspect and the victim are 16. The age of consent in Ohio is 16.

Lee admitted that the police department did not inform the school district that the suspect was initially charged with rape before Griffith sent his letter calling the incident “an allegation of assault.” However, Lee said his department should not be blamed for the district’s lack of information.

“Nobody’s responsible for notifying the district. There’s no responsibility, there’s no obligation for the police department or even the county prosecutor to notify the district what the appropriate charge is,” Lee said.

Lee said “there’s no indication” the suspect resisted arrest or had a weapon on his person.


Suspect in Alleged Rape Will Likely Face Expulsion — “Permanent expulsion is always an option for anybody,” Hutchings said. “One thing I can tell you is that anybody who I think poses a threat to the safety of our students or staff — they’re not welcome in our schools, period.”

Griffith outlines expulsion policies; high school can levy 90-day expulsion, superintendent can levy a full year or permanent expulsion.

New information suggests incident did not occur in a locker room.

Hutchings clarifies Griffiths instructions to teachers to “avoid any conversations regarding this.”

Griffith encourages students not to speculate.


Student on “Home Detention”; Faces Rape and Kidnapping Charges — Suspect on “home detention with GPS monitoring.”

Being tried in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. Faces charges of rape and kidnapping. First pre-trail hearing was Sept. 23. Next will be Oct. 23.

Judge ruled “the child shall have no contact with the alleged victim including electronic and social media.”

The student “denied the allegations through counsel.”


Cleveland Rape Crisis Center Continues Scheduled Visits to Health Classrooms — Crisis center does what it has for several years: send representatives to high school to inform students about sexual assault and rape.


Trial Date Set for Student — Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court judge schedules trial for Jan. 21, 2014 at second pre-trial hearing.

Prosecutor and defense attorney both declined to comment.


Sticking to the Rules, Old and New — Cover story of Volume 84, Issue 2 of The Shakerite. District and school take several significant steps to improve security at the high school. Officials maintain that they had already begun reviewing procedures before the incident, but that it expedited the process.

Principal Michael Griffith has revised the way security guards monitor the halls and placed new restrictions on when doors open and close in the morning, and instructed the security staff to do a better job of locking interior doors to prevent students from being in unsupervised locations, among other measures.

Superintendent Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. said that he is inclined to require upperclassmen to sign out of school during their free periods. Hutchings claimed this would not alter the open campus culture considerably.

More changes to come throughout the school year.


Parents React To Security Changes — High school parents responded to changes outlined in cover story above.


New Policy Mandates Security Guards Stand All Day — Follow up story to Sticking to the Rules, Old and New. Security guards must stand all day with two 15-minute breaks and a 30-minute lunch. That adds up to almost eight hours on their feet per day.


Trial Postponed For Student Accused of RapeFollowing a Northeast Ohio Media Group request to attend the trial, the student’s attorney requested that the judge give him additional time to file a motion for the trial to be closed to the public. The judge granted this request.


Student Accused of Rape Shot in Cleveland — Student shot in legs, hospitalized after argument with suspected gang member who fled on foot.


Student Convicted of Rape at High SchoolFormer student convicted of rape and kidnapping more than a year after incident. Sentencing hearing scheduled for Nov. 18.


Former Student Convicted of Rape Released — Student released to guardian’s custody. Judge places him on probation and orders 50 hours of community service. Student now a Tier I sex offender.

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