Scott Rose, friend of the Blend who blogs at PoliticusUSA, does an incredible job of digging deeper into the case in the Lone Star State of H.S., who when she was 16, suffered a sexual assault by three Silsbee High School jocks. A jury indicted two of her assailants for sexual assault of a child. Star player Rahkeem Bolton pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge, allowing him to not only return to school, but to rejoin the team. The local D.A. proved he was incompetent to handle the case against star player Bolton when he announced to the public that everybody had been drunk the night of the assault and that therefore, the allegations could not be proven.  But if the victim was too drunk to give reliable testimony later, wouldn’t she also have been too drunk to give consent? But the story of humiliation and debasement only got worse.:

The United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a review of the case brought by the woman, who is known only as HS. Lower courts had ruled that she was speaking for the school, rather than for herself, when serving on a cheerleading squad – meaning that she had no right to stay silent when coaches told her to applaud.

….As a cheerleader, HS served as a mouthpiece through which [the school district] could disseminate speech – namely, support for its athletic teams,” the appeals court decision says. “This act constituted substantial interference with the work of the school because, as a cheerleader, HS was at the basketball game for the purpose of cheering, a position she undertook voluntarily.”

Scott took a look at the climate in Silsbee that produced this tragedy (including the victim being charged with filing a “frivilous” lawsuit and fined $45K), both at the school and in city government that will curl your hair. From the must-read “Texas Cheerleader Who Was Assaulted Never Had A Chance“:

I want the reader to have some idea of how important football is to Silsbee, Texas and then how important Rahkeem Bolton was to Silsbee, Texas high school football. The Silsbee Tigers play in Tiger Stadium. With its latest seating expansion, that stadium fits 10,000 spectators. Tickets, sold onsite or in the school administration building, are $5 for adults, $3 for students ahead of time but $5 at the door. On a good day, the box office could be $35,000, maybe $40K or more.

…The victim was told that preliminary results from the rape kit showed some DNA evidence that could inculpate the defendants. Yet the victim kept hearing that due to case backlogs, the full rape kit analysis results wouldn’t be ready for four months, five months, one year – depends which report you read. There is an appearance that the can kept getting kicked down the road for the date the victim was being given for when the rape kit results would be ready. The victim now says she wants to study forensic science, motivated in part by the delay in the processing of her rape kit.

Does it sound right, that a community taking in $35K, $40K per home game football match can’t get a rape kit processed any faster than that? I called the public information department of the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory DNA Section. I asked “Is it possible for somebody to get expedited rape kit results from the DNA Section of your Crime Lab?” They told me “Yes. If a prosecutor or investigator says they have a case coming up and need results promptly, we can have the complete rape kit results for them within three weeks.”

The treatment of this teen girl by the justice system was beyond heinous. And since this is Texas, you know bible-beating hypocrisy — and add in conflict of instance — had to fit into this story at some point.

With persistence, the family by June, 2009 got the criminal justice system to convene a second grand jury. Attorney David Barlow was named special prosecutor. The jury indicted Rakheem Bolton on a charge of sexual assault of a child. A second football player, Christian Rountree was indicted as well. A third football player originally charged in the case was left out on the second go-round. Barlow said that the grand jury didn’t have jurisdiction over him.

Reverend Billy Ray Robinson, President of the Jasper, Texas branch of the NAACP, protested the indictment in the NAACP’s name. Reverend Robinson is, according to one local source, Rakheem Bolton’s great uncle. The video of the Reverend’s criticism of the indictment ends with appeals to God and Jesus.

Please click over to PoliticusUSA to read the whole sordid tale. It’s hard not to boil over with anger. This story needs wide circulation.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding