Tulsa County DA recuses his office from trying Bixby sexual assault case

Bixby Public Schools (KTUL)

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler has recused his office from the Bixby sexual assault investigation.

For more than a week, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and Bixby police have been investigating four high school football players for allegedly sexually assaulting a teammate.

Earlier this week, Kunzweiler said his office would recuse itself if there was a connection with any of the individuals involved. A spokesperson for District 12 DA Matt Ballard confirmed his office will now handle any potential criminal case.

RELATED | Bixby parents frustrated with school's silence on sexual assault investigation

Ballard's office released this statement to Tulsa's Channel 8 late Friday afternoon:

Following the recusal of the Tulsa County District Attorney’s office the Attorney General appointed me to consider charges regarding criminal allegations involving members of the Bixby High School football team.
We are still in the beginning stages of the investigation. It’s a cooperative effort with the assistance of Bixby Police, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and my own DA investigators.
This is a complex investigation and I am committed to uncovering all relevant facts and only at the conclusion of a thorough investigation will I be able to make charging decisions regarding any potential crimes as I deem appropriate and in the best interest of justice.
I know members of the community have many questions and our team hopes to provide answers at the appropriate time and in accordance with both the law and all ethical obligations with regard to any potential victim and suspects.
I know local law enforcement is committed to ensuring the safety of all of our children and anyone with information they believe may be relevant to investigators is urged to reach out.
Because this matter involves sensitive allegations regarding underage students, I will have no further comment until the investigation is complete.

Ballard serves as DA for Rogers, Mayes and Craig counties.

Kunzweiler spoke briefly to Tulsa's Channel 8 Friday afternoon, saying his office has a conflict with the investigation.

"Yes, we have a conflict in reviewing/handling anything associated with that investigation," said Kunzweiler. "Attorney General Mike Hunter, upon my request, assigned District Attorney Matt Ballard’s Office to handle all matters associated with the investigation."

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