Youths charged as adults in sex abuse case

Published 12:42 am Thursday, June 4, 2009

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Four middle-school students in the Tampa, Fla., area have been charged as adults with sexually assaulting a younger flag-football teammate in a locker room.

The teens are accused of holding down a 13-year-old classmate and assaulting him with a broomstick and hockey stick. The younger teammate told investigators the boys harassed and bullied him from mid-March until early May, during the season for the interscholastic sport.

State attorney’s office spokeswoman Pam Bondi said Wednesday that each boy faces four counts of sexual battery, stemming from multiple incidents. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

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Three of the boys charged are 14 and the other is 15. The students at Walker Middle School in Odessa each pleaded not guilty at a hearing Wednesday.