7 Northeast students implicated in rape case

obrown@macon.comJanuary 29, 2012 

Seven teenagers at Northeast High School sexually assaulted a 16-year-old special-needs student inside a restroom as the school day wound down Jan. 19.

That’s the allegation in a Bibb County campus police report that hasn’t been released to the public.

Four 17- or 18-year-old students charged with raping the girl were still in the Bibb County jail Saturday. Three other students were taken to the Macon Youth Development Campus, where juvenile offenders are held.

Bibb County school officials released no information about the case until Jan. 24, and The Telegraph filed an Open Records Request for the initial campus police report that day. That report, subject to disclosure under Georgia law, wasn’t filed until Friday afternoon, eight days after the episode, according to Randy Howard, the Bibb County school system’s in-house attorney.

In a letter to a Telegraph attorney, Howard said school officials would get the police report Monday and “if there are no legal objections or confidentiality issues, we will produce the incident report.”

Several people in the school system are familiar with the report, and one person provided details to The Telegraph before its release. Here is what happened at the school Jan. 19, according to the multipage report:

That afternoon, sometime after 1 p.m., one of the male students who knew the 16-year-old went to the girl’s classroom and told the teacher that another school employee wanted to see the girl. The teacher let the girl leave class, and she walked down the hallway with the boy.

That student led her to a nearby boys restroom. Two other male students were waiting near the restroom doorway.

Four other students either were already inside the restroom or came in later. School video captured the boy coming to the girl’s classroom, the boy and girl walking down the hallway and the two teens waiting outside the restroom.

Inside the restroom, for the next hour, the seven students raped and sodomized the girl.

The students threatened the girl and told her not to tell anyone what had happened.

After the ordeal, the girl got dressed and was taken back to her classroom. By then, the school day had ended and the girl went home.

Later, at home, when the girl’s mother was washing clothes, she asked her daughter about the smell of some of her clothing, but she didn’t get an answer from her daughter that satisfied her. The girl went back to school Friday. When she got home, her mother asked her again about her clothes and pressed her for an answer. Only then did the girl tell her what had happened.

The mother called Macon police and later took her daughter to the hospital, where medical personnel gathered evidence that could be used in the case. At the hospital, a campus police detective said his department would handle the case because it had happened on school property. Detective Corey Goble is leading the investigation.

Police got arrest warrants over the weekend of Jan. 21, and some of the students were soon taken into custody. Others were arrested at Northeast after the school week began. Charged as adults are: Antonio Deaundry Jackson, 18; Ashley J. Clark, 17; Jimmie Lee McKnight, 17; and Greg L. Watkins, 17.

Campus police have questioned all of the teenagers in the case. The initial report made no mention of any gang connection. The 16-year-old girl’s family has hired Macon attorney Brad Wilson to represent her.

Contacted Saturday, Wilson would say only, “At this point, my only comment is no comment.”

In November, the Bibb County school system paid $67,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging that the district didn’t do enough to prevent the sexual assault of a special-needs student at Northeast High in 2008. The victim in that case also was a 16-year-old.

Another student at the school, Ikeia Phillips, attacked her in a school computer lab. He later pleaded guilty to assaulting the teen with intent to rape her and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

To contact writer Oby Brown, call 744-4396.