Target: Sevier County Juvenile Court Judges Jeff D. Rader and Dwight E. Stokes
Goal: Charge suspects accused of raping a freshman teammate with a pool cue as adults.
Three high school seniors have been charged as minors with aggravated assault and rape after their freshman teammate was treated for injuries following a “hazing incident.” While in Gatlinburg, Tenn. for the Smoky Mountain Classic basketball tournament, three players allegedly sodomized their 15-year-old teammate using a pool cue.
Following the incident, the boy was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released. After returning to the cabin the team had rented, he collapsed and was taken by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. There he received surgery due to a ruptured colon and discovery of the tip of the pool cue in his bladder. The victim has been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery, but an anonymous family member has said he’s suffering severe emotional trauma.
A juvenile can be tried as an adult under several different conditions, one being the severity of the crime. If intent and significant malice are obvious, the crime can be attributed not to the poor decision making of child but the calculated and intentional actions of an adult. The victim required surgery for a ruptured colon and the removal of the tip of a pool cue, which was forcibly shoved into his rectum. It’s obvious the intent to harm was present.
The fact that a serious assault is referred to simply as a “hazing” is deplorable. This young man has and will continue to suffer due to the vicious attack of his teammates. If we can begin to hold the perpetrators accountable in cases such as these, we will be making progress towards a healthier, happier, and productive society. Simply dismissing these incidents saying “ boys will be boys” is no longer acceptable. We must step up and fight for the well-being of one another.
Sign this petition to show your support of the victim and demand the accused be charged as adults. Tell Juvenile court judges Jeff D. Rader and Dwight E. Stokes you will no longer stand for the neglect and abuse of our nation’s youth and will not accept excuses for these malevolent actions.
Dear Judges Rader & Stokes,
Bullying has become a national epidemic. The nature of the abuse in the Ooltewah basketball team rape case is particularly gruesome. It cannot be assumed this incident was the product of poor decision-making, but an act that was meant to hurt and shame the victim. The three young men involved should be charged and tried as adults as their actions reflect the malice and intent that accompanies vicious premeditated crimes. This was not simply a case of “boys being boys” or a misunderstanding of the harm being inflicted.
It has been stated by several sources that a pool cue was used in the attack of the victim. The tip of that pool cue was also removed from the victim’s bladder following his collapse. The force necessary to accomplish this hideous consequence could not have been a simple miscalculation. If we can begin to treat these cases as serious offenses and provide the punishment that fits the nature of the crime, we can perhaps begin to confront the issue of relentless bullying and abuse among our youth.
I urge you to reconsider the charges against the accused and treat them not as children who have made a misjudgment but adults who knowingly harmed another person. Please charge the young men involved as adults so they may suffer the penalties of their horrifying actions and as a society we can acknowledge the depth of this issue.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ryan Melaugh