FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — A 17-year-old student at West Florence High School is facing charges after allegedly pushing a girl into a restroom and sexually assaulting her, according to a Florence County Sheriff’s Office incident report.
The teenage boy was arrested after the alleged incident on Nov. 8 and charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He is being held in the Florence County Detention Center on a $30,000 surety bond. News13 is not identifying the teen because of his age.
The boy admitted to the crime after being read his Miranda rights, according to an arrest warrant obtained by News13.
The superintendent of Florence 1 Schools, Dr. Richard O’Malley, released the following statement about the alleged incident:
“District Administration, School Officials, and Law Enforcement are actively investigating a report involving two exceptional education students at West Florence High School. We cannot discuss or release details regarding student disciplinary matters.”
The phrase “exceptional education students” refers to students with disabilities.
According to the incident report, the investigation began after school officials reported to a school resource officer that “we might have had a rape occur.”
An assistant principal said a student came to her “trembling” and said someone had raped her in a school restroom, the report said. Authorities then began reviewing security footage and were able to identify the suspect pulling the girl into the restroom.
During an interview with investigators in the school principal’s office, the report said the boy admitted to touching the girl, pulling down her clothing and sexually assaulting her.
News13 spoke with attorneys Robert Stucks and Ashley Nance, who are representing the victim.
“We are not here to, by no means, to smear the Florence School District 1 or the Florence County Sheriff’s Office,” Stucks said. “But the fact of the matter is this is a situation that has to be addressed. We are of the opinion that certainly the students, the parents, and the community have a right to know.”
Both Nance and Stucks said they’ve worked on similar cases in the past. They said their primary concern is protecting the security of the victim, especially considering her age.
“It’s not just the victim herself but also her family. Because, you know, you can imagine,” Nance said. “If you know someone in the community who has children and you find out who the mom and dad are, well, then you can put two and two together who the child is.”
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Aundrea Gibbons joined the News13 team in May 2023 after graduating from Clemson University with bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and communication. Aundrea is a Marion native and graduated as salutatorian in 2019. Follow Aundrea on X, formerly Twitter, and read more of her work here.
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Dennis Bright is a Digital Producer at News13. He joined the team in May 2021. Dennis is a West Virginia native and a graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Follow Dennis on, Facebook, X, formerly Twitter, and read more of his work here.