Gwinnett reviews baseball sex-assault suspensions

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Channel 2's Aaron Diamant reports

Gwinnett County school board members Monday upheld a year-long suspension against a Parkview High School baseball player accused of being part of a group of upperclassmen who participated in hazing and the alleged sexual battery of younger students, the student’s attorney said.

The students were part of a traveling baseball team that played at a tournament in June in North Charleston, S.C., where Gwinnett officials said the upperclassmen held down four teammates as young as 13 and inappropriately touched them at the team hotel. Police are investigating what happened at the hotel.

Gwinnett administrators conducted an investigation and proposed suspensions ranging from a semester to an entire school year, according to court records. School board members met in executive session for about 2 1/2 hours Monday to review the case. The board and Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks did not discuss their decision, following their policy not to talk about student disciplinary cases.

Giles Sexton, an attorney for one of the suspended players, told Channel 2 Action News in an interview his client did not harm any students.

“I’m frustrated by (the board’s decision), because I really felt like, based on everything that was heard by way of the evidence, my client’s sanction should have been reduced,” Sexton said.

Sexton said he’s advised the student’s family to appeal Gwinnett’s decision to the state Board of Education.

None of the families of the students who were suspended, nor their attorneys attended Monday’s meeting. None of the attorneys returned telephone calls or emails seeking comment Monday.

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