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Samantha Hayes ReportingA teen is in custody and a school under investigation after upsetting accusations of sexual abuse.
Kent Morgan, Prosecutor: “It appears as of six months ago the school was aware of it.”
The 14-year old boy is accused of groping and fondling female students at Oquirrh Hills Middle school over the last six months. The School District says it was handling the problem internally. But police didn't learn about it until a parent of one of the victims came forward.
This case involves 13 girls at the school. Prosecutors say the principal and vice principal never reported the allegations to authorities.
Kent Morgan: “The allegations involved unbuttoning clothes and touching in private areas.”
Prosecutor Kent Morgan says one of the victims went to the Vice Principal at Oquirrh Hills Middle School last September. The school district defends the actions of school administrators and says the girl's complaint was handled internally.
Melinda Colton, Jordan School District: “SO the young man was called in, told to knock it off, told that not everybody takes hugs the same way, and that was it.”
More female students complained about the boy's behavior in February. The school reprimanded him verbally and suspended him twice.
Melinda Colton: “His parents were contacted, he began working with counselors. And the parents of the students who reported this they were also talked to and it was handled in house, and it was not felt at that time that law enforcement needed to be notified."
Utah law says "any person, official, or institution required to report a case of suspected child abuse...who willfully fails to do so is guilty of a class B misdemeanor..."
Kent Morgan: “There is a requirement that you either report it to the Department of Child and Family Services or you report it to a police officer. And I have no indication that either of those two things were done."
Melinda Colton: “Our leadership in our schools are trained in the law year after year after year. We keep logs, our principals are trained to write everything down, every allegation. We have reviewed those today and feel very confident in those logs."
The Jordan School District says more complaints were brought to the school in April. That's when a parent notified police.
The accused student faces 13 felony charges and, if convicted, up to four years in juvenile detention.