Editor’s note: This story includes some graphic content.
An 18-year-old Murray County High School student is scheduled to be in court Wednesday on a charge that he forced a 16-year-old boy to participate in oral sex in a men’s restroom on campus.
Shawn Fry of Chatsworth was charged March 10 by the Chatsworth Police Department with one count of aggravated sodomy. He was denied bond in a Magistrate Court first appearance on March 11, authorities said. As of Monday afternoon, he was in the Murray County Jail.
District Attorney Kermit McManus said Fry is scheduled for a bond hearing on Wednesday in Superior Court. The Public Defender’s Office is representing Fry and continues to look into the facts of the case, said attorney Steve Blevins.
Dean Donehoo, administrative services director for Murray County Schools, said he couldn’t comment on the case except to say the school is following a protocol that dictates how to handle alleged sexual or physical abuse against a minor. He said law enforcement officials are investigating and the school is cooperating. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, Fry could face sanctions from the school, including expulsion.
A jail official said the incident is alleged to have occurred between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on March 9. Donehoo said he didn’t know whether it was during a break at the school, nor did he have any other details. He said it is school policy to have a teacher or another adult standing outside the restroom doors at breaks, but students sometimes go to the restroom at other times without an adult directly outside the door. He referred specific questions to the Chatsworth Police Department. Detective Jim Whitehead, who is investigating the incident, did not immediately return several phone calls to his office and cell phone on Monday.
In a handwritten note on the affidavit for Fry’s arrest, Whitehead stated Fry “perform(ed) oral sex on the organ of a 16-year-old child to satisfy his own desires against the 16-year-old child’s will.”
Murray County High School Principal Gina Linder did not immediately respond to an e-mail about the incident on Monday, and the phones to the school were not working. In the past school officials have referred questions about similar incidents to Donehoo or law enforcement officials.
Officials haven’t determined whether the alleged incident was bullying, but it could meet the definition of bullying outlined in Senate Bill 250, which school districts must fully comply with by August. Bullying, according to the new law, involves intentional behavior that “causes another person substantial physical harm ... or visible bodily harm” or “has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education” or creates a “threatening educational environment” or substantially “disrupts the orderly operation of the school.”
This allegation is the latest in a string of accusations of student-on-student violence or harassment in Murray County Schools.
The school system and Linder are being sued by David and Tina Long in federal court in Rome on allegations their son, Tyler, committed suicide in October 2009 because the school failed to stop other students from bullying him. The school system is contesting the suit, and attorneys have said the charges are unfounded since Tyler died at his home.
Todd and Holly Miller are also suing the school system on allegations their then-third-grade son at Woodlawn Elementary School was bullied and that school employees failed to follow proper procedures for handling it. The school system is fighting that case, also.
Donehoo said it’s rare for incidents such as sodomy to occur in school bathrooms.
“In my ‘hundred years’ being involved in this, of course smoking used to be an issue in the bathroom ... ” he said. “Every once in a while, children will have squabbles in the bathroom, and you can have a fight or something of that nature, but not this type of conduct. It would be extremely rare in my opinion.”
Reporter Mark Millican contributed to this story.
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