Affidavit: Victim details assault by teammates; Bixby officials delayed reporting incident
BIXBY, Okla. (KTUL) -- It's been weeks with little information from Bixby Public Schools or investigators looking into an alleged sexual assault involving members of the high school football team, but in a newly-filed affidavit the victim spells out in graphic detail what he says happened during a team function at the superintendent's house.
The 16-year-old victim told investigators he and a group of fellow football players gathered at Superintendent Kyle Wood's Bixby home. Sometime during the gathering, three teammates held him down while a fourth penetrated him with a pool cue. According to the affidavit, a fifth teammate recorded the incident on a cellphone while others in the room laughed and another player blocked the door.
The affidavit does not specify if the superintendent was home at the time. We reached out this afternoon to Wood but he declined our request for comment.
The exact date of the incident is also not clear from the affidavit, though the affidavit states that a school employee believed it occurred Sept. 27.
According to what the victim told investigators, this assault wasn't the first involving the football team. The affidavit quotes the victim as saying a similar incident occurred a year earlier.
The potential criminal case is being handled now by 12th District Attorney Matt Ballard, who was assigned as special prosecutor after Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler recused his office.
Ballard's investigator, Wayne Stinnett, writes in the affidavit that the victim's mother was contacted by Bixby Athletic Director Jay Bittle in late October. She said Bittle told her that her son was the victim of a bullying and hazing incident. At the time, she said she told Bittle she believed the school could handle the situation internally but did not know then that her son was sexually assaulted.
On Oct. 31, the affidavit states the victim's parents met with Superintendent Wood but the meeting "became very heated." It wasn't until that evening that the victim disclosed to his mother that he was sexually assaulted.
Stinnett writes in the affidavit that the exact timeline is unclear because the school delayed reporting the incident, but investigators believe the school became aware Oct. 26 that something had happened when Bittle received a tip from a concerned student. Some time later, the school learned which juveniles were involved and that the incident involved a sexual assault, which was recorded on a student's cellphone.
Stinnett writes that the school conducted its own investigation but waited to notify police. In fact, according to the affidavit, Bixby High School Principal Terry Adams had an off-the-record meeting with a Bixby police officer Oct. 31 at which time he asked if the school was required to report the incident to police or the Department of Human Services. The next day, Adams called the officer and said the superintendent "had given him permission to report the incident to police."
The case was assigned to a police detective but it wasn't until Nov. 6 that a school official gave the Bixby Police Department "a very vague description of the incident," according to the affidavit. On Nov. 10, Ballard spoke with an attorney representing the school district who said he advised Bixby Public Schools not to turn over the results of the district's investigation without legal process, citing privacy laws.
"It is unclear when school officials reported this sexual assault of a child to the authorities, although it was certainly delayed for days," reads the affidavit. "It certainly appears that any reporting of the incident was significant and has caused difficulty in the investigation, especially including the inability to preserve evidence. It also appears that there may have been some initial effort by one or others to not report the incident at all."
According to the affidavit, Stinnett spoke with a DHS representative who said the only report of a child sexual assault they have is from the morning of Nov. 10, a day after media coverage began. Stinnett writes in the affidavit that "it appears that school officials were aware of the sexual assault" before the principal's off-the-record meeting with a Bixby police officer Oct. 31.
At Stinnett's request, search warrants were granted for electronic communications between Wood, Adams, Bittle and Head Football Coach Loren Montgomery. Warrants were also secured for the cellphones of Wood, Adams and Bittle as well as the four juveniles at the school. The evidence was seized Nov. 17 at the high school, administration office and football field.
According to the search warrants, investigators were looking for evidence relating to first-degree rape, failure to report child sexual abuse, conspiracy and accessory to said crimes.