17-year-old William Jackson Houk, a student and varsity football player at the prestigious Westminster School in northwest Atlanta, is currently being held without bail at the Fulton County Jail on charges of sexual assault.
Houk turned himself in to Atlanta police on Sunday and was charged with sexually assaulting one of his teammates in the school gym’s showers.
The school’s president, William Clarkson, told reporters that the alleged assault occurred on October 22nd and was discovered when coaches heard students talking about the incident at a football practice. The victim was staying with his aunt at the time of the alleged assault. The boy’s aunt and a school official accompanied him to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on October 23rd. Police were called from the hospital.
According to Clarkson, the circumstances surrounding the incident, including the existence of any witnesses, are “fuzzy.” Clarkson stated that police instructed the school to “back off” and allow law enforcement to take over all investigative efforts.
The Westminster School did send an email to parents, school trustees, and staff on Monday afternoon informing them of the police investigation. In the email, Clarkson made assurances that the school took the appropriate action in the case according to the school’s guidelines and protocols, including reporting the incident to Atlanta police. Although Clarkson stated the school was fully cooperating with police investigation, the email contained very few details about the alleged assault.
Houk is charged with aggravated sexual battery. According to O.C.G.A. § 16-6-22.2, a person commits aggravated sexual battery when “he or she intentionally penetrates with a foreign object the sexual organ or anus of another person” without consent. A conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.
Aggravated sexual battery is one of Georgia’s “seven deadly sin” crimes, meaning an individual between the ages of 13 and 17 who is charged with the offense must be tried as an adult. Additionally, a person convicted of aggravated sexual battery is not eligible for parole unless he receives a life sentence. Even in those cases, one is only eligible for parole after serving 30 years.
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