News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012
EVANS, Ga. -- A Columbia County judge laid down the law on two Columbia County middle schoolers who are accused of attacking and simulating sexual acts on fellow students.
Lakeside Middle School parents took their concerns to the school board Tuesday night. They're concerned about the group of five boys who call themselves the "Charlie Rape Gang."
The boys are accused in several incidents of grabbing fellow students, pushing them and then simulating sexual acts on them. The school punished all five students with suspensions, but on Wednesday, those teenagers were in court facing criminal charges.
The five members of the "Charlie Rape Gang" stood as the judge read off the misdemeanor simple battery charges.
"You three have a seat ... the other two stand up," directed Juvenile Court Judge Doug Flanagan.
Each of the boys is accused of grabbing students, pushing them and then simulating sexual acts on them or the air around them.
"I have concerns when people knock people down or push them down and take advantage of them. That's a form of bullying. We don't have that in the school system and this court will not allow it to happen in this school system," Flanagan told the boys.
Investigators testified the boys called it a joke and said the four victims that have come forward appeared to be targeted at random.
Parents of each of the 12-and-13-year-olds stood and addressed the judge.
"This has kinda shaken all of us. We never thought [our son] would be in a courtroom," one parent said.
Another parent said they believe in discipline.
"He has been extremely disciplined from this. We're embarrassed. We hope that he feels the same," the parent said.
Another parent called it a "very immature and stupid choice."
While Flanagan released all five teenagers to go home with their parents, two will not be going back to Lakeside Middle School because they had been in trouble before.
"Not allowed back in this school while the investigation continues. He's got a history with the school, he's lost the privilege to be in that school," Flanagan said.
Flanagan says he hopes other students learn bullying has serious consequences as schools get new tools to fight it.
"I can tell you Lakeside Middle School will be receiving six cameras from juvenile court from the funds we have available to try and make the schools safer," he said.
The Columbia County Sheriff's Office is still investigating this case. Right now, they say the incidents were not sexual in nature because intimate areas were not touched.
Wednesday's hearing was only a detention hearing. The five students will answer to the charges at a later date. Ironically, the judge is speaking Thursday at Evans Middle School on bullying.
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