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High school students rally around teen accused of sexual assault

A student at Whitefish Bay High School is accused of sexually assaulting another student in the stairwell on April 18 and forcing her to perform oral sex upon him. After fellow students learned of the allegations, many of them took up a campaign in the student's defense, believing the student to be innocent of the alleged sex crimes.

The accused student allegedly told police that it was the 16-year-old girl who initiated the sexual contact. He has been charged in juvenile court with second degree sexual assault. The identities of the students have not been released.

After news of the incident spread, students began to show their support of the accused teen. Approximately 15 students wore t-shirts to school asking that the student be freed. Other students wore headbands, an accessory commonly worn by the accused, to express solidarity. The students used social media to organize the campaign. One student told reporters that what happened was a private issue between the students. Another student stated that some students do not believe police fully investigated the incident.

The criminal process can be scary, especially for minors. Crimes involving sexual misconduct can affect a person for many years. Even those charged as a juvenile may be required to register as a convicted sex offender after the fact. A juvenile who has been accused of or charged with a crime may benefit from speaking with a licensed criminal defense attorney who can review the evidence and determine the best way to proceed. In some cases, it may be possible to argue for dismissal or to negotiate a plea bargain involving lesser charges.

Source: Whitefish Bay Patch, "WBHS Students Come to Defense of Sexual Assault Suspect," Jeff Rumage, April 25, 2013

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