A pair of Indiana teens are facing felony charges after a video was posted on Snapchat which showed them physically abusing a freshman in a high school locker room.
Austin Martin, 18, and Kyle Johnson, 19, both face three counts of felony criminal confinement and three counts of misdemeanor battery. Police say the teens physically assaulted the freshman student in a locker room at Clinton Prairie High School in Frankfurt. Via the Indanapolis Star:
The juvenile victim, a 15-year-old freshman, reported that Martin made comments to Johnson after gym class on three separate occasions about inserting fingers into the victim's "rear end." According to a probable cause affidavit, the victim told investigators that Martin restrained him "in a bearhug fashion," pinning him against a locker or wall while Johnson would slap the victim's butt "and lift up hard on his butt cheeks." The victim reported that he was wearing shorts or underwear when each of the three incidents occurred.
If you think that sounds like sexual assault, you're not alone. Investigators with the Indiana State Police said they were originally investigating the incidents as possible sexual battery, but no such charges were filed against Johnson and Martin. The victim was also reportedly taunted with threats that the boys would hurt him by "inserting a finger in his anus," Clinton County Prosecutor Tony Sommer told reporters. He said additional charges covering sexual battery could be filed at a later date.
Prosecutors said the abuse came to light when an Instagram video was posted to Snapchat. It was not immediately clear if Johnson and Martin recorded and/or posted the video of their actions or if it was done by someone who witnessed what they did. (According to police, two other teens witnessed the abuse and spoke to authorities about what they saw as well.) Sommer said the video is what prompted other students to come forward to school officials, which led to the investigation.
Unfortunately, Sommer said he currently doesn't have access to the video, because images and videos posted to Snapchat disappear forever. (Or do they?) Either way, police and prosecutors are holding out hope that a copy of the video will surface so they can use it as evidence.
Attorneys for Johnson and Martin were quick to dismiss the accusations as "horseplay." By the way, I looked up "horseplay" for everyone in the dictionary and I can assure all of you, the definition of it makes no mention of putting your finger in someone's anus against their will. (I even checked the Urban Dictionary, just to be safe.) Via WLFI:
"I've talked to Kyle as to what happened very briefly and I would think that to a layman's term that his version would be that this was horseplay," Johnson's attorney Steve Knecht said.
"Bullying is a hot topic nowadays and so every one wants to know what's going on. Do I think it rises to that? No and I think hopefully the evidence will show that," Martin's attorney Brian Dekker said.
According to Clinton Prairie School Corporation's website Martin is a scholar athlete. Both men played football for the high school and Martin was the captain of the basketball team.
I'd say two teenagerswho are both strong and athletic holding down a younger boy against his will and putting their fingers in his anus is exactly what the word "bullying" was invented for. But yeah, sure, go for the "bullying is just a hot topic" route.
Johnson and Martin, both seniors, were a few months away from graduating. Following the investigation by the school, they were "suspended pending expulsion" according to a statement from Superintendent Chris Sampson. The expulsion process was concluded for one of them, but Sampson declined to identify which one. They will not be able to walk for graduation, but could eventually earn a diploma through "recovery credits" offered online.
School officials say there is more adult supervision in the locker rooms since the incidents were first reported.
Image via Clinton County Jail