Crime

After Shawnee Mission East assault charges, parents of earlier victim regret not prosecuting

A reported incident of indecent exposure in 2015 involving the Leawood boy now charged with sexual assaults allegedly occurred at Indian Hills Middle School.
A reported incident of indecent exposure in 2015 involving the Leawood boy now charged with sexual assaults allegedly occurred at Indian Hills Middle School. Shawnee Mission School District

Their daughter was in seventh grade in 2015 when a classmate exposed himself to her at Indian Hills Middle School in Prairie Village.

But after much soul-searching and a promise from the boy’s parents that he would receive counseling, and an apology from the boy, the girl’s parents agreed to not prosecute the case.

It is a decision they are now regretting after news broke last month that the same boy allegedly sexually assaulted another girl at Shawnee Mission East High School.

“When we found out what happened, we felt so much guilt,” the girl’s mother said. “If he did get counseling, it obviously didn’t fix his problem with girls.”

The Star is not naming the mother to protect the anonymity of her daughter.

The 15-year-old Leawood boy is now charged in the juvenile division of Johnson County District Court with three counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The charges involve the alleged “lewd fondling or touching” of two girls at Shawnee Mission East on Sept. 14.

He is also now charged with lewd and lascivious behavior in the 2015 incident after the girl and her parents asked police to reopen the case.

All four charges are felonies.

After reports of the assault at Shawnee Mission East, students around the metro area showed support for the victims by wearing black, a protest that spread on social media.

On Tuesday, the attorney for the boy released a written statement asking people to reserve judgment until all the facts are known.

“The truth has been exaggerated by social media,” attorney Lindsey Erickson said. “The community needs to temper its reaction and let the judicial system work in a just manner.”

He is not in custody and is scheduled to make an initial court appearance Oct. 27.

According to Shawnee Mission School District officials, one of the two Sept. 14 incidents occurred in a boys bathroom at the high school.

The boy allegedly groped the girl while another boy held the door shut to prevent her from getting out. Officials have said the second boy was unaware of what allegedly happened and would likely not face charges.

The Leawood boy is also charged with improperly touching a second girl at the school that day, but officials have declined to comment on the circumstances of that alleged incident.

The mother of the girl in the 2015 incident said Tuesday that her daughter and the boy were sitting at a table across from each other when he told her to look under the table because he wanted to show her something.

When she looked, he allegedly was exposing his genitals.

The girl told her father, and he called Prairie Village police to make a report.

Police said Tuesday that the report was not available because it involved juveniles.

Her daughter was the subject of vicious school rumors because of the incident, her mother said.

In deciding not to press charges, the mother said she and her husband wanted to make sure that the boy received counseling.

They met with school officials and his parents, who said he was already in counseling and would continue.

“It seemed like the school took it seriously,” she said.

Ultimately, they agreed to not pursue charges and the boy apologized to her daughter, she said.

But last month, her daughter came home from Shawnee Mission East and told them about the new incident.

She, her husband and her daughter made a family decision to contact police and ask them to reopen the 2015 case.

Police sent the report to the Johnson County district attorney’s office along with the reports from the recent incidents.

The mother said someone called from the district attorney’s office to let them know the charge was being filed, and that their daughter could be called to testify in court.

She said her daughter was ready to do that. Her daughter has also reached out to the girl who was allegedly assaulted last month to lend her support.

“He needs to be prosecuted,” the mother said. “I really think this kid needs help.”

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc

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