Police investigate assault, weapons cases at metro-east schools

News-DemocratFebruary 22, 2014 

Metro-east police departments responded to area high schools for a variety of felony crimes over the past 2 1/2 school years, including assault, aggravated battery, sexual assault and weapons violations.

The Belleville News-Democrat requested logs of police calls to public and private high schools from 19 police departments throughout Madison, St. Clair, Monroe and Clinton counties under the Freedom of Information Act in an effort to determine how often violent crimes occur against students at local schools.

These call logs showed a majority of the police calls to area high schools were routine. However, a handful were more serious.

For example, Collinsville police responded to two sexual assault calls in that time frame: one originating from Collinsviille High School and another at Collinsville Christian Academy, which is a K-12 school.

Mascoutah police investigated a criminal sexual assault on a high school bus in 2012, and Cahokia police responded to two calls regarding weapons during the 2012-13 school year.

Please see accompanying article for crimes reported at Belleville East, Belleville West and East St. Louis high schools.

A complete list of all the calls for the past two and a half school years can be found in an interactive database at www.BND.com.

ST. CLAIR COUNTY

Mascoutah police had one call listed as investigation on Jan. 12, 2012. The BND requested a copy of the police report pertaining to this call, which detailed an alleged criminal sexual assault that occurred on a school bus while it was traveling between the high school and middle school.

The report states that while sitting in the back of the bus, the unidentified female student was assaulted by a male student.

The suspect was not charged in the incident due to a lack of evidence, and the victim providing conflicting statements to police, according to the report.

"We work very hard at the school to ensure student safety," said Mascoutah District 19 Superintendent Craig Fiegel said. "I think you do that best with teachers who are listening to students and paying attention to what's going on."

Cahokia police didn't respond to any criminal sexual assault calls at Cahokia High School in the last two and a half school years. However, two incidents involving weapons occurred during the 2012-13 school year.

A student had a pocket knife in his possession on Dec. 13, 2012. The knife was discovered by a school security officer and turned over to the assistant principal, who provided it to police.

A handgun was allegedly displayed by a student during an altercation following football practice on Aug. 21, 2012. No charges were issued regarding this incident.

MADISON COUNTY

Collinsville police responded to Collinsville High School for a suspicious circumstances call on Nov. 26, 2012. A counselor at the school notified police of a possible sexual assault of a student, which did not occur on school property. The alleged assault was detailed in a writing assignment a female student completed.

The female victim was allegedly sexually assaulted by a male student at his residence. After months of investigation, the suspect, who was not identified by police due to his age, was charged with criminal sexual abuse on March 13, 2013, and arrested by Collinsville police.

A weapon incident occurred at Collinsville High on Sept. 16. A student had in his possession a folding-type knife, which police confiscated. The unidentified student was charged with disorderly conduct.

A sexual assault call originating from Collinsville Christian Academy on Nov. 13 remains under investigation, according to Collinsville police, which is why the full report could not be released. Thus, no details about the incident are known including whether the sexual assault occurred at the school or off campus.

Deedra Mager, office manager at the academy, directed all questions to senior pastoral staff, who could not be reached for comment.

Edwardsville High School had five police calls of interest including three listed as other criminal investigation, one suspicious incident/circumstance, and one suspicious incident involving child.

The suspicious incident involving a child was the result of an alleged altercation between a student and a custodian in February 2013. The other suspicious incident call was about an unknown yellow capsule obtained by a student from another student at Edwardsville High in September 2012.

One of the other criminal investigation calls involved an aggravated battery of a child in January 2012. An unidentified student allegedly was being abused by a 34-year-old female.

Another call involved a student cutting herself with a box cutter in November. Information regarding the third criminal investigation was not provided by the Edwardsville Police citing the Juvenile Court Act.

Madison County Sheriff had one call for an aggravated battery at Triad High School in February 2012. The sheriff's department denied the BND's request to review the police report as both the victim and suspect were juveniles.

MONROE, CLINTON COUNTIES

Waterloo Police Department had one criminal sexual assault call at Waterloo High School on Nov. 4. The call was in reference to a previous incident involving a district employee kissing a girl on the lips when she was in the fifth grade. The incident remains under investigation.

An aggravated battery Dec. 2 at Waterloo High involved a student hitting another student on the head repeatedly with a notebook binder until the victim blacked out. The injured student received medical attention and did not want to pursue charges.

Police responded to only routine calls for service to Central High School in Breese and Wesclin High School in Trenton, both in Clinton County. There were no police calls to Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or jforsythe1@bnd.com.