Students at Whitefish Bay High School in Wisconsin wore t-shirts in support of a fellow student who was accused of sexual assault and were told they had to cover or remove the shirts. Other students wore headbands in support of the sophomore accused of sex crimes in which he allegedly forced a 16-year-old girl to have oral sexual contact with him.
The allegations stemmed from an incident in one of the school's stairwells in which the boy told police the girl initiated sexual contact. Many students felt the incident should have been contained between the parents, students, police and school administration and not made public.
Many parents were frustrated by the lack of information, calling the media reports "vague." News reports were said to be based on an 18-page report issued by police sources. Some students claim that the support for the suspect is not universal and that the school is divided between supporters of the male and supporters of the alleged victim in the case.
Sexual abuse cases are usually fraught with emotion and can generate strong opinions both for and against an accused person. Public opinion can be powerful in determining how prosecutors handle such a case, especially when minors are involved.
A criminal defense attorney may be able to assist those who were accused of such crimes not only by representing their interests in court but also in handling the release of information to the public. A criminal defense attorney may also be able to help accused individuals negotiate a plea to a lesser charge to prevent long jail sentences, heavy fines or both.
Source: Whitefish Bay Patch, "WBHS students come to defense of sexual assault suspect," Jeff Rumage, April 25, 2013