Lakeside Middle boy granted bond in sexual battery case

A Lakeside Middle School pupil accused of sexually assaulting classmates was granted bond at a detention hearing Friday.

The 13-year-old boy was charged with five counts of sexual battery Tuesday.

Juvenile Court Judge Douglas Flanagan granted the boy a $20,000 bond and required that he undergo a psychological evaluation, wear an ankle monitor and stay with his father in Louisiana or his grandmother in Hephzibah. The boy also can have no contact with the alleged victims.

“This is not a game,” Flanagan said. “That’s not acceptable behavior to be touching people sexually. It’s against the law.”

The boy, who has been held in the Regional Youth Detention Center since he was charged, also was suspended from school pending a school system tribunal hearing.

The resource officer for the school in Martinez called deputies Sept. 13 after female students complained that the boy made “uninvited contact with their intimate body parts,” according to a sheriff’s office report.

One of the victims said “she had been slapped on the rear end several times,” sheriff’s Investigator Brian Jones testified at the hearing. “All of the (victims’ statements) were similar in that they were either touched on the rear end or on the breast.”

Jones also said the victims said the boy made inappropriate sexual comments.

One of the victims made a similar claim in April. The boy was charged with sexual battery, but the charge was reduced to simple battery. The case was handled out of court after the victim’s mother said she believed the boy was simply acting immaturely.

The boy told Jones that he didn’t touch anybody on purpose. He said that in one incident another pupil threw his hand onto a girl’s buttocks. In another, he said, another girl touched a girl’s buttocks and blamed it on him.

Two of the girls involved also will face a disciplinary hearing because witnesses saw them touch the boy inappropriately, Nagle said.

The boy’s attorney, Travers Chance, insinuated that the victims are all friends, don’t like the boy and are trying to get him into trouble.

“They don’t like him because he’s smarter than they are,” Jones said the boy told him. “He does his work and makes better grades than they do.”

The boy also said the girls assaulted and inappropriately touched him and that when he tells teachers they always believe the girls.

“They are working together trying to get (the boy) in trouble,” Chance said.

Lakeside Middle Assistant Principal Brian Bowles testified that the boy is a good student and has only been in trouble once before for being part of a group of pupils that hit another classmate in the locker room.

The boy could face up to five years in confinement for the sexual battery charge, which is a felony.

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