Westminster student arrested for sexually assaulting football teammate

10:29 AM, Oct 31, 2012   |    comments
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At 17, William Houk is still underage, but 11Alive is showing his picture because he is being charged as an adult.

ATLANTA -- A 17-year-old student at Atlanta's Westminster School was arrested Sunday for sexually assaulting a fellow student.

William Jackson Houk turned himself in to Atlanta police, investigators said.

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Houk, a football player, is charged with sexually assaulting one of his teammates in a shower at the school gym on Oct. 22. He is being held without bond in the Fulton County Jail on an aggravated sexual battery charge.

Fulton County Sheriff's spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan said Houk is next scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 13.

At 17, Houk is still underage, but 11Alive is showing his picture because he is being charged as an adult.

Flanagan said the decision to charge Houk as an adult stems from his age -- once an individual turns 17 and commit a crime, he immediately is considered an adult and treated as such by the state of Georgia.

Westminster's president, William Clarkson IV, sent a home to Westminster parents on Monday:

Dear Parents:

I write to you in order to express deep concern regarding an incident that took place last week involving a few students on the varsity football team. I can assure you that we have taken all steps within the school's strict guidelines and protocols regarding such matters, including the fulfillment of our responsibility to report this particular incident to the Atlanta Police. They are now in charge of the investigation, and we are cooperating fully with them.

Throughout its history, Westminster has always been committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for our students in which they can learn and grow into responsible young adults. Our commitment extends well beyond the classroom and reaches every activity that interests our students, whether on the athletic fields, on the stage, in the robotics arena, or in a country across the ocean. The safety and welfare of our students always will be our foremost concern.

We are diligently addressing the situation to make sure it is resolved in a sensitive and compassionate manner. In furtherance of our practice of keeping all student disciplinary matters private and confidential, I can only disclose that the incident has resulted in the separation of a student from the school and that we are offering support systems to ensure that any student in need has a trusted adult he or she can talk to in confidence. Our High School Grade Chairs will be meeting with their students on this matter tomorrow at 2:45 p.m.

For 60 years, Westminster has maintained appropriately high standards for student conduct. This has been the foundation of our school and is essential for the success of our students. It is important to emphasize to our students, our parents, and our community that conduct not meeting those standards will not be tolerated.

I urge you to join me, the Administrative Team, and the Board of Trustees in respecting the privacy of the individuals involved in the incident. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me directly and I ask that you please keep our school community in your thoughts and prayers.

Once again, thank you for understanding the sensitivity of this matter, and know that the health and welfare of every student at the school is of paramount importance. Our students are in good hands among our dedicated teachers and coaches, who care for them each and every day.


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