BIXBY, Okla. – Court documents are providing new details related to an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual assault at an Oklahoma school district.
Multiple football players at Bixby High School are accused of rape by instrumentation following an incident that happened last year.
In November, a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Tulsa World detailed the allegations of rape by instrumentation of a 16-year-old Bixby High School football player by four of his teammates, while other teammates laughed and even barred the door.
The victim reportedly told officials that the sexual assault, which occurred around Sept. 27, was not the first time he was assaulted. In fact, he said “a similar incident had also happened at a team function at the same location during the 2016 football season,” the affidavit states.
The boy said he was at a football team function at the home of the Bixby superintendent when he was sexually assaulted.
According to the affidavit, investigators are also looking into “indications of a ‘cover-up’” in reporting of the assault by school officials.
“It is unclear when school officials reported this sexual assault of a child to the authorities, although it was certainly delayed for days,” the affidavit states. “It certainly appears that any reporting of the incident was significant and has caused difficulty in the investigation, especially including the inability to preserve evidence. It also appears that there may have been some initial effort by one or others to not report the incident at all.”
The affidavit states that there was some delay in reporting the assault to the proper authorities as the Bixby school system had been investigating “but police had not been notified.”
When a school official did finally report the sexual assault to police in November, according to the affidavit he said that the superintendent had finally “given him permission to report the incident to police, but directed it be reported to a certain Bixby police officer.”
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New documents obtained by the Tulsa World paint a more detailed picture of the investigation into the sexual assault allegations.
According to a new search warrant affidavit, five juveniles provided written statements “admitting their various levels of participation in the sexual assault of the victim and the video recording of the sexual assault.”
In fact, it states that one student admitted to police that he recorded the assault and was concerned about protecting the evidence on his phone because a parent of a suspect “had recently offered to purchase” his cell phone.
The affidavit says that Bixby Athletic Director Jay Bittle took a written statement from the victim on Oct. 26, but the assault wasn’t reported to any investigative agency until Oct. 31 in an ‘off the record’ meeting with Bixby police.
“Those present indicated Superintendent Kyle Wood would not allow school officials to report the incident to the police until the morning of Nov. 2,” the affidavit states.
Investigators say they have collected numerous pieces of evidence, including ‘an amount of deleted data’ from cell phones of the alleged suspects.
In addition to investigating the possible rape, officials are also looking into “whether there were efforts to avoid the mandatory reporting requirements” by school officials “as well as potential efforts to thwart a police investigation into the incident.”
The court documents indicate that the Bixby Public School District “produced tens of thousands of emails in an unindexed and minimally searchable format where each electronic communication was an unnamed file that had to be individually opened to be examined.”
OSBI officials have asked the school district to send them the documents in a “more easily searchable format.”
In the midst of the investigation, Superintendent Kyle Wood resigned from the district in December.
“The media’s reporting of recent events has, in several important ways, been inaccurate, misleading and incomplete. Dr. Wood did not violate any law regarding reporting of child abuse; nor has he violated any District rule or policy. Because of the pending investigation, Dr. Wood will not litigate this case in the press. Instead, Dr. Wood will continue to cooperate with law enforcement officials, and continue to respect District Attorney Matt Ballard’s investigative process,” a statement from Wood’s lawyer read in part.
According to the resignation agreement, the school board agreed to pay Wood his full salary and benefits through October, which amounts to $167,018.