National News

Grundy County football players charged in sexual assault case to remain on house arrest

Posted October 16, 2017 5:39 p.m. EDT

— The five Grundy County teens at the center of a sexual assault scandal went before a judge Monday for the first time since being charged.

The football players were arraigned in juvenile court on charges of attempted aggravated rape. They will remain on house arrest for now.

The county is in the process of looking for a new juvenile judge to head up the case.

In court on Monday, Juvenile Court Judge William (Trey) Anderson recused himself from hearing the case in the future because he was a private attorney at one point for one of the defendants' parents.

Four juniors and one senior are accused of trying to rape a freshman with a metal dust mop handle. The alleged attack happened last Wednesday during an early morning workout at the high school football field house.

Sheriff Clint Shrum said it's a tough time for the community.

"I think the mood of the county is a little bit of surprise, but I think they are watching intently. There is some support both ways, so it's just a tough time," Shrum said.

Shrum said investigators have more work to do as they try to determine if there were similar allegations in the past.

"This is fall break, so it makes it a little bit tough for us to interview the folks that we need to interview because some of them are traveling out of town," the sheriff said. "But we are definitely looking into that."

The defendants' next court date has been set for Nov. 15 at 9 a.m. The date could be rescheduled when a new judge is appointed to the case.

The Grundy County School Board has a called a special board meeting for 6 p.m Monday at Grundy County High School. They will be voting on whether or not to cancel the rest of the football season in light of the allegations. Friday night's game was canceled.

If they do, TSSAA officials said the basketball team would also forfeit its postseason games.

"The question is are you going to penalize possibly 30 other students athletes that do not get to participate, or do you deal with those five and the coaches that left those kids unsupervised?" said Bernard Childress, executive director of TSSAA.

The team's head coach has been suspended while the investigation continues.