Four Bibb County teenagers have now been charged with rape in connection with a Jan. 19 episode at Northeast High School.
Authorities arrested Antonio Deaundry Jackson, 18; Greg L. Watkins, 17; Ashley J. Clark, 17; and Jimmie Lee McKnight, 17; on Monday and Tuesday and charged each with rape, according to arrest warrants filed in Bibb County Magistrate Court.
According to the warrants, each teen is charged with raping a 16-year-old girl at Northeast High between 1 and 3 p.m. that Thursday.
All four were still in jail as of Thursday afternoon, according to Bibb County jail records.
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School officials did not release any information about the case until Tuesday afternoon. So far, school officials have refused to release the initial police incident report in the case, even though that report is subject to disclosure under Georgia’s Open Records Act. School officials have said only that campus police are still investigating the case and that it involves juveniles. In Georgia, criminal defendants ages 17 and older are considered adults.
Some board members had different perspectives on how the school system has handled the situation so far.
Board member Lynn Farmer said she thinks school officials have not been as forthcoming as they could have been.
“(You’ve) got to be out front as soon as possible,” Farmer said. “You’ve got to assure people you’re on top of things, even if you can’t release anything, to send the message that bad things won’t be tolerated.”
Board President Tommy Barnes, in turn, said officials need to investigate the case thoroughly before releasing information. Ensuring the safety of students is a priority for the Bibb County school system, he said.
“We’re waiting for adequate updates. We want facts to be gathered. We want to be conclusive,” he said.
In November, the school board agreed to pay $67,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging that the district didn’t do enough to prevent the sexual assault of a Northeast High student in 2008.
The victim in that case was a 16-year-old special education student. Another Northeast student, Ikeia Phillips, attacked her in a school computer lab, authorities said.
Phillips later pleaded guilty to assaulting the teen with intent to rape her and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
To contact writer Andrea Castillo, call 744-4331.