The investigation into the possible sexual assault at Pickens County Middle School is being handled by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office in a way befitting the sensitivity of the incident.
“There’s no cover up. We’re not trying to send (press) releases right now, we’re trying to complete the investigation,”
reported P.C.S.O. Information Officer Kris Stancil.
Today’s events included meeting with the county school administration and county attorney to update them on the investigation. They also completed a second review of the video tapes from the middle school today as well as had various investigators watch them to see if they noticed details they may have missed. They have continued the process of reviewing camera footage from other areas of the school for thoroughness and conducted interviews.
Over the past days numerous persons were called in to determine if they may have been witnesses to any incident or have any knowledge of what happened that day. Stancil offered an olive leaf to those concerned about those interviews,
“After watching video, any time someone might have been a witness…seen something, heard something, overheard something, we were able to identify who that kid was walking through that area so we talked to them, maybe three to four questions. It doesn’t indicate in any way, shape or fashion they are suspect. It just means they walked by an area that we might have been concerned about, to see if it could’ve happened during that time and that location.”
He admitted there were only a few times during that day the victim was unattended.
“A lot of parents want us to come out and say that this person is not in the school and we’d love to be able to say that. The only part we’re able to say is we’re sure nobody came into the school and did this,”
Stancil said. He further said they are looking at several areas where this may have occurred outside the school but quickly ruled out the school bus, saying there was a camera on the school bus and a review of the ride that afternoon revealed no possibility it occurred in transit.
Stancil reported the victim was first taken to Piedmont Mountainside Hospital who referred them to Scottish Rite in Atlanta. There were several hours that passed before P.C.S.O. was notified at 12:30 a.m. the morning of September 20. He stated that when the father initially took the victim to Piedmont, he wasn’t aware of what had caused the injury. Sometime after he left Jasper is when the nature of the injury was disclosed by his son.
“In this particular instance it’s students and any victim of a sexual assault is always going to be kept anonymous,”
Stancil explained. Most things are public information but sexual assaults are not. Then the schools have their own rules which they’ve also abided by which has made the flow of information more difficult than normal.
“We can’t provide answers to the questions most people want to have right now. To gather evidence and not go off of a statement is much more difficult than just looking at a camera clip.”
Where will they go from here? The “evidence collection” phase is still active: conducting interviews, trying to gather more thorough information, additional interviews with the victim, his family and other previously interviewed witnesses.
“We’re continuing with that until we get to a point where we feel comfortable enough to make closure,”
“Whether that be by an arrest or through school administrative or whatever it may be depending on who or what we end up with. Some cases just take a long time. This involves a lot of people and a lot of complex information so we’re having to go methodically.”
“You can’t be wrong when you make an accusation like this. This has to be beyond a reasonable doubt for an accusation because it’s that serious in nature. Especially if another child may have been involved, you’re looking at their entire future based on one accusation. If it’s not right you’ve really made a major foul so we’re being very, very careful,”
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