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Neb. school officials avoid charges in abuse case

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 7, 2012 at 5:22 pm •  Published: December 7, 2012

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Three western Nebraska school officials accused of failing to report allegations that high school wrestlers sexually assaulted a young teammate at a summer wrestling camp will not face charges, an attorney for two of the officials said Friday.

Bob Lindemeier, a North Platte attorney who represents Maxwell Public Schools Superintendent Danny Twarling and high school principal Aubrey Boucher, said that the school board and Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling agreed Monday that the officials wouldn't be charged and that district staff would undergo training to better understand the laws regarding student abuse and neglect.

Twarling, Boucher and wrestling coach Ryan Jones were cited by the Nebraska State Patrol in September on suspicion of failure to report child abuse or neglect, a misdemeanor.

None of the teens who were alleged to have taken part in the assault have been charged. Nebraska State Patrol investigators have turned over their findings about the alleged abuse at the Kearney wrestling camp to the Buffalo County prosecutor, who will determine whether charges should be filed, patrol spokeswoman Deb Collins said.

Buffalo County Attorney Shawn Eatherton did not immediately respond to a phone message Friday enquiring whether he plans to bring charges in the case.

Neither the alleged victim nor his parents are named in court documents, and authorities did not respond to requests for their identities to give them an opportunity to react to the agreement between prosecutors and school administrators. There was no answer at Maxwell Public Schools on Friday afternoon.

Patrol investigators have said the three school officials were told that members of the wrestling team held down a team member and sodomized him with a bottle while at camp in the summer of 2011. An investigator said the mother of a friend of the alleged victim said she asked the boy whether he had reported the incident to his coach, and the boy said he had but that the coach told him, "What happens in wrestling, stays in wrestling." The teen also told a State Patrol investigator that Boucher called him a liar and "a rumor spreader" after learning of the reported assault.

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