For­mer Cal­houn stu­dents in­dicted in post-prom sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tion

The Standard Journal - - Local - By ERIK GREEN

Three for­mer Cal­houn High School stu­dents have been in­dicted by a grand jury in Gilmer County fol­low­ing their ar­rests stem­ming from an al­leged sex­ual as­sault at an af­ter prom party on May 11.

Ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties, Damon Avery John­son, Fields Chap­man and Andrew Haynes were each in­dicted on felony charges of ag­gra­vated sex­ual bat­tery and sex­ual bat­tery.

Chap­man and Haynes were each charged with a count of sodomy and Chap­man was charged with 28 counts of sex­ual ex­ploita­tion of chil­dren, al­legedly stem­ming from cell­phone pho­tos from the night.

“These in­dict­ments show that the Grand Jury has de­ter­mined that prob­a­ble cause ex­ists from the ev­i­dence pre­sented that the De­fen­dants may now stand trail for the of­fenses con­tained with each of the In­dict­ments,” said Ap­palachian Ju­di­cial Cir­cuit District At­tor­ney Ali­son Sose­bee.

The de­fen­dants, all 18, face charges of ag­gra­vated sex­ual bat­tery and un­der­age con­sump­tion of al­co­hol. All made their $51,000 bonds shortly af­ter their May 28 ar­rests.

Grand ju­ries de­ter­mine if enough ev­i­dence ex­ists to in­dict, which would then send a case to an ar­raign­ment and pos­si­bly to trial.

Au­thor­i­ties al­lege Haynes, Chap­man and John­son were di­rectly in­volved in the sex­ual bat­tery, and that a for­eign ob­ject was used on the vic­tim. Copeland said he an­tic­i­pates no oth­ers will face a felony charge in con­nec­tion with the as­sault.

Gilmer County Sher­iff Stacy Ni­chol­son has called the vic­tim’s in­juries “sub­stan­tial.” She was hos­pi­tal­ized for sev­eral hours the fol­low­ing day.

Copeland said no other at­tendee at the prom party will face mis­de­meanor al­co­hol charges at this time.

“A good por­tion of those people are act­ing as wit­nesses,” he said.

Ev­ery­one at the party was younger than 21, Ni­chol­son has said.

Staff writer Alan Riquelmy con­trib­uted to this re­port.

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