Assistant DA speaks about Clyde-Savannah sexual assault investigation: ‘I know this community is suffering’
WAYNE COUNTY, N.Y. – A “sensitive case” is how Wayne County’s assistant district attorney described the investigation into the sexual assault of a boy, 14, in the Clyde-Savannah High School locker room.
First Assistant District Attorney Christine Callanan spoke at a news conference on Friday afternoon after a grand jury indicted four teens from Clyde on Thursday. It’s the first time that law enforcement has spoken publicly about the investigation into the incident that happened before a varsity football practice on Halloween.
Callanan said that, because the community is so tight-knit, people want answers about what happened during the assault. She said the DA’s office is releasing few details because of the ages of both the victim and the teens facing charges.
“I know this community is suffering. I know this community is reeling. I know parents have a lot of questions, but unfortunately this is something at this point that we can’t answer,” she said.
The DA’s office did announce that three boys ages — 15, 16, and 17 — are facing charges of felony aggravated sexual abuse, misdemeanor hazing, and misdemeanor forcible touching. A 16-year-old is charged with on two counts of felony second-degree unlawful surveillance.
The teens were arraigned and released to their parents, and police say the victim has an order of protection against them.
The DA’s office says that it will not be releasing the names of anyone involved, at any point. And, because of state law, the teens will not be tried as adults. Callanan said that how they’re sentenced — and whether or not that sentencing is public knowledge — depends on each teen’s age and what they’re found guilty of.
Sources tell News10NBC that a SnapChat video shows a handful of players holding down an underclassman and assaulting him. The district canceled the rest of the football season and Clyde Police, with help of New York State Police, have been investigating ever since.
Callanan said that collaboration helped to get the case in front of the Wayne County grand jury and the investigation is still ongoing.
“This is a small, tight-knit community,” Callanan said. “That football team is having an amazing season. A lot of things came to an end very quickly and there’s been limited information. Although we understand that, I have an obligation and everyone that stands up here has an obligation to doing the criminal investigation the appropriate way.”
As the rumors continue to swirl around the community, prosecutors say they will not risk the case by addressing them.
Neighbors who live in Clyde told News10NBC that they’re hurt and confused and want to know more about what happened. They have been hoping for answers. Many declined to speak on-camera.
Clyde-Savannah High School has only 170 students. the Village of Clyde itself has 4,000 people; and Savannah, 1,700.
You can watch Callanan’s full news conference here: