Agencies investigate report of child-on-child sexual assault at Cleburne school

01/15/2014 10:01 PM

01/15/2014 10:03 PM

Multiple agencies are looking into a report that a 5-year-old girl was sexually assaulted recently by a child younger than 10 in a Cleburne school restroom, officials confirmed Wednesday.

School officials learned about the incident at Santa Fe Elementary School on Jan. 10, said Lisa Magers, a spokeswoman for the Cleburne school district.

Police and Child Protective Services were immediately notified, Magers said in a statement this week.

Detective Kelly Summey, a Cleburne police spokeswoman, said officers did an initial investigation but handed their findings over to CPS, which has become the lead agency on the case.

State law requires CPS to take charge of investigations of sexual assault cases involving suspects under 10.

“Everybody involved here is under the age of criminal responsibility which, in the state of Texas, is under 10,” Summey said. “So, the laws of Texas say it can’t be handled as a regular criminal matter.”

Shari Pulliam, a CPS spokeswoman, confirmed that the agency was investigating a Cleburne child sex assault case but said she could not discuss details.

She did describe how such investigations are conducted.

“We’d be wanting to look at what was going in [the suspect’s] home,” Pulliam said. “Where did they learn this behavior? Is this something they learned in their homes? And, if so, do they need protection?

“If any caretaker is at fault, that would need to be addressed.”

The investigation’s findings, Pulliam said, will be shared with law enforcement, school officials and the Texas Education Agency to take whatever actions they are authorized to conduct.

Magers said letters about the investigation were sent home Monday to parents of children at the school, 1601 E. Henderson St.

“Santa Fe parents were told that the safety of their students was of the utmost importance,” Magers said.

The parents were urged to contact school officials if they had information “relating to the matter.”

“The district has also begun an investigation and is working with the police and CPS officials,” Magers said.

Pulliam said she did not have access Wednesday evening to statistics about Texas children under 10 accused of sexually assaulting peers. She said she believed such cases were rare, and that she had not encountered one.

“Some of the other public information officers said they haven’t seen it either, which is a good thing,” Pulliam said. “We don’t want such things going on in our schools.”

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