Prosecutors try to move 1 player in rape case to adult court

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Prosecutors said Tuesday they want to transfer one of the three Tennessee high school basketball players charged with raping a teammate from juvenile to adult court.

They described the teen, now 18 years old, as a leader in the ''aggressive, pre-meditated and horrific attack.''

He is one of three Ooltewah high school players facing aggravated rape charges after they allegedly assaulted a freshman teammate during a hazing incident on Dec. 22. Police say the boy required emergency surgery after they held him down and assaulted him with a pool cue at a Gatlinburg cabin while the team was participating in a holiday tournament.

All three players were charged as juveniles with the rape of one teammate, though the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office has indicated four freshman players were assaulted during that trip.

The incident has roiled the school system. Ooltewah basketball coach Andre Montgomery, assistant coach Karl Williams and athletic director Allard Nayadley have pleaded not guilty to charges of failing to report the abuse to the proper authorities. Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith announced he was stepping aside earlier this week amid the controversy.

The names of the players facing charges haven't been released because they are juveniles.

But prosecutors at a hearing on Tuesday argued that the case against the 18-year-old player they described as a leader of the attack should be transferred to adult court.

Jeff Stern, the teen's lawyer, said the freshman's injuries were ''completely unintentional and accidental in nature'' and cited his client's lack of a juvenile record.

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