Fulton’s school chief finalist deals with Athens school rape case

In Clarke County, three Athens high school students, one of them 17 years old, the other two 18, are facing charges after a 15-year-old girl says she was raped in a school stairwell in January. Parents didn’t learn about the alleged crime until nearly a month later.

News reports say the three male students remained in school for days, and parents have been upset over the school’s handling of the case.

Superintendent Philip Lanoue met with parents Wednesday to explain how his staff handled the situation and to announce that he has ordered more police patrols at the school, the Athens Banner-Herald reported. Clarke County relieved the principal of his duties Feb. 12 and named an interim principal Monday, according to news accounts. Some parents and students said they still had many unanswered questions, the newspaper reported.

Athens-Clarke County police Sex Crimes Unit commanding officer Lt. Jeff Clark told the Athens Banner-Herald that the girl says she went willingly into a stairwell at Cedar Shoals High School with three male friends on Jan. 7 when one of them sexually assaulted her. She says the other two watched or helped to restrain her.

Lanoue was recently named as the sole finalist for the seat vacated when Robert Avossa left Fulton in April. A Fulton school district spokeswoman said officials are confident Lanoue and his staff are appropriately handling the situation. Fulton school board president Linda McCain did not return an email requesting comment.

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