HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville Police confirm they are investigating an alleged sexual assault that happened between two middle school students who were on an overnight trip at Space Camp. The students were from Whitwell Middle School in the Chattanooga area.
Investigators can't say much because the case involves juveniles. However, we know officers were called to Space Camp Thursday morning for an incident that happened the night before.
The accusation is that one boy touched another boy on his privates while they were in the dorm room area. They won't identify the people involved, but say the victim is 11. The other boy involved was 13.
Huntsville Police say no adults were involved. Investigators will follow up with the children and their parents. No one has been arrested.
Marion County School officials told WDEF in Chattanooga that18 middle school students were on the overnight trip to Space Camp when the assault reportedly happened.
“On further investigation there was a situation where one particular student that started horseplay, per se, that went beyond horseplay,” said Mark Griffith, Director of Marion County Schools.
“And then a further investigation went on that there was a possibility of hitting in the buttocks area, something similar to that,” Griffith added.
Marion County Schools expelled the boy accused of the assault. He is set for a hearing next week.
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center has released a statement in response to the investigation:
We have thousands of students who attend our Space Camp programs from around the world each year and their safety and security is always top priority. Our security protocols escalate any concerns or issues to chaperones, parents and management.
We followed that protocol Wednesday evening regarding a student on a school trip. When informed of alleged inappropriate conduct by that student, Space Camp management immediately followed protocol that included notifying the chaperones in charge of the school group. The alleged behavior was isolated to this school group, and it is being handled as an internal situation within the school system.
Space Camp management followed decampment procedures used in cases that require discipline. This was coordinated with the school principal and all the parents involved. No one has been arrested in regard to this allegation, and all the children other than the student who was decamped remained to graduate from Space Camp.