tampabay.com

Girl, 15, reports rape at school

Police plan to question a 16-year-old boy in the case.

By ABBIE VANSICKLE
Published February 7, 2007


TAMPA - Police are investigating allegations that a Jefferson High School student raped another student Tuesday on campus in a bathroom.

"This is a very serious allegation," said school district spokesman Steve Hegarty.

No charges had been filed Tuesday evening, and police said it was likely they would turn the case over to prosecutors.

Police were called to the school just before 1:30 p.m., after a maintenance worker spotted two pairs of feet in a bathroom stall near the school's auditorium during lunchtime, Hegarty said.

When a second maintenance worker tried to get into the stall, a 16-year-old boy pushed him and ran, said police spokeswoman Andrea Davis.

The other person in the stall, a 15-year-old girl who also attends Jefferson, told police the boy raped her.

The boy left school, running through a parking lot and crossing Cypress Street to the Doubletree Hotel's parking garage, Davis said. He then ran east to the Sheraton Suites, where police caught him.

That afternoon, police spent several hours interviewing the girl, Davis said. They planned to take her for a rape examination after the interview.

Police planned to interview the boy later in the evening.

Unless the boy admits guilt in the incident, police likely will turn the case over to prosecutors to make a determination on charges, Davis said.

The two teens are acquainted, Hegarty said, but their relationship was unclear Tuesday.

Also unclear is how the students got into the bathroom, which was being used as a storage space for maintenance workers and was closed to students.

A letter to parents about the incident will be sent home today, Hegarty said.

Abbie VanSickle can be reached at 813 226-3373 or vansickle@sptimes.com.