Dietrich district investigation finds evidence of sexual assault

It is “more likely than not” that several Dietrich High School football players sexually assaulted a black, mentally disabled teammate after a practice last year, according to a school district investigation.

The Twin Falls Times-News reported Tuesday on the document, which casts new light into the grisly assault case.

The investigation involved 30 interviews with football players, coaches and parents, according to The Times-News, and found “evidence of misconduct among students that (included) sexual harassment, bullying behavior, and sexual assault.”

The document, even in heavily redacted form, would not normally be made public. But attorneys for the alleged victim submitted the document as evidence, the Times-News reported, arguing they should receive the document in unedited form.

The family of the alleged victim has filed a $10 million civil lawsuit against the district. The family says Dietrich officials knew — or should have known — about the escalating pattern of violence that culminated in the Oct. 22 sexual assault. District officials have denied most allegations in the civil suit.

Three teammates face criminal charges in the case. John R.K. Howard of Keller, Texas, faces a felony charge of forcible penetration using a foreign object. Felony charges were dropped earlier this month against 17-year-old Tanner Ward; he and and third defendant face charges in juvenile court.