The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, November 23, 2021 1:00 am

Smith Green board says rumors untrue

Prosecutor investigating alleged attack

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

Accusations of sexual assault reported in an October locker room incident at Churubusco Junior-Senior High School are unfounded, the Smith Green Community Schools board said in a statement Monday.

But a special prosecutor assigned to the case said he's still investigating.

The incident allegedly involved juvenile boys and occurred “in the junior high school football locker room on or about Oct. 12,” Sgt. Brian Walker of Indiana State Police said in an October statement. The report included students being urinated on and sodomized.

The board said it released the statement to clear the record. Huntington County Prosecutor Jeremy Nix, who was appointed as special prosecutor, said Monday he is still reviewing the case and the state police investigation to determine whether criminal charges will be pursued.

“That incident and the subsequent discussion sparked a lot of misinformation and malicious rumors about our students, schools, and community, which must now be addressed accurately,” the Smith Green statement said.“As to the most concerning issue, based on the official investigations, the initial accusations of sexual assault, specifically sodomy, were determined to be unfounded.”

Superintendent Daniel Hile was not involved in the investigation, the statement said, and the board asked two retired superintendents from outside of the area to review the processes of investigation and discipline.

“After conducting that audit, those superintendents determined that the process and the punishment imposed were proper, ethical, and appropriate,” the statement said.

The board said it remains confident in Hile's ability to continue leading the school district.

“Dr. Hile's work is recognized and respected regionally and nationally,” the statement said. “Vindictive social media crusades based on falsehoods, half-truths, and gossip cannot and will not alter our conviction that we have the best team in place to lead our schools.'

The school board will review policies pertaining to student conflicts and bullying with a committee that includes community members.

“Now it is time for us to move forward together as a community, making improvements where needed based on facts, not rumor, innuendo, or fabrication,” the statement concluded. “Let us return to being proud of Smith-Green Community Schools and the entire Churubusco community.”

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