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Great Falls

Dec 9, 2011 9:08 PM by Kay Rossi (Great Falls)

GFPS Superintendent addresses "hazing" incident

The Great Falls School District is releasing details about its investigation of reported hazing incidents at Great Falls High School.

The incidents led to sexual assault charges against student Alex Mauricio Botina-Roehm.

Superintendent Cheryl Crawley neither confirmed nor denied that school officials did everything in their power to address this issue when it happened, but it looks like this incident could bring about changes for the school district in the near future.

According to the Great Falls School District, recent hazing at Great Falls High School was acted on immediately by school staff.

Still, the problem wasn't addressed entirely; Crawley said, "What we learned included the fact that there is, there's sort of a grey area, shall I say, in the laws about reporting."

Crawley says when a school counselor found out about the abuse, it was reported to a school administrator right away, but because Montana law on the matter is unclear, school staff were unsure that a report to the state was required.

Crawley said, "Everyone is led by the language of the laws to understand that we're reporting child abuse, which people think of as young children and when the abuse occurs by someone in the family or in the child's living situation."

It wasn't until November 10th when Crawley says the district was notified, when a student's grandmother called the police.

The district conducted a hearing to determine if board policy was violated and ultimately determined that 18 year old Alex Botina Roehm would not return to public school campuses.

The Great Falls Police Department also conducted it's own investigation.

While Crawley stands behind her staff, she admits more work needs to be done.

She says an annual sexual harassment training session will be enhanced and there could be changes to board policy in the future.

Sergeant Bryan Slavik says the police department is not looking at charges for any school staff involved in the matter.

STORY: Hazing at Great Falls High School results in sexual assault charges

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