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Teen accused of raping teacher cleared of charge



Published: Thu, August 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The lawyer said the boy lost a football scholarship because of the charge.

YOUNGSTOWN -- A 14-year-old boy accused of raping a teacher at Immaculate Conception School in May has been cleared of the charge.

The boy's Austintown attorney, Edward J. Hartwig, said Wednesday that a magistrate in juvenile court concluded that the state did not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

"We're elated by the decision," Hartwig said. "It was a horrible ordeal."

Hartwig said his client, an eighth-grade honor student at the Oak Street school, had a football scholarship to Ursuline High School pulled after the charge was filed in May. The boy remained in detention at the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center pending resolution of the case.

Hartwig said the boy had been captain of the football team, played basketball and participated in MyCap, a youth mentoring program that involves reading to younger kids.

A strange meeting

The third-grade teacher told police that she was in a faculty rest room and opened the door when she heard a knock. The 27-year-old woman said the boy, whose pants were unzipped, forced his way in, pushed her against a wall and put his right hand down her pants.

Hartwig said there were no witnesses and no evidence.

He said the teacher had asked the boy to make her a bracelet and bring it to the faculty rest room. Combined classes had been making bracelets in the cafeteria that morning.

Hartwig said the boy brought the bracelet to the faculty rest room, as asked. There was an awkward moment and the teacher hugged the boy and said they could meet later, the lawyer said.

"She left with the bracelet, and she never reported anything immediately -- not to the principal, not to the police," Hartwig said. "He went back downstairs. He had told his teacher he was going to go look for [the third-grade] teacher ... then she said there was a rape in the bathroom. It was a bizarre story."

Responses

Hartwig said there was very little investigation before the boy was arrested.

"The whole thing wasn't just concocted -- there was some interaction; the question was what was the extent of it and who initiated it," Hartwig said. "Clearly, clearly there was no evidence" of the rape alleged, he said.

Hartwig said he intended to discuss with the boy's family what to do next.

Monsignor John Zuraw, school administrator, referred questions to Dr. Michael Skube, Catholic schools superintendent. Skube's office said he was in a daylong meeting Wednesday and could not be reached.




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