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No arrest, possible suspect questioning after alleged Joplin Hig - KOAM TV 7

No arrest, possible suspect questioning after alleged Joplin High School rape

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Joplin, MO -

Joplin police are investigating whether or not a rape happened inside Joplin's high school.  Police say the alleged crime happened during school hours and involved two students.  Investigators are waiting for some key evidence, though, before charges could be filed.

There's a fine line in this case.

"It is all anybody is wanting to talk about," says Joplin High School student Kasey Cool.

Some students believe an 18-year-old girl was raped inside Joplin's high school.

Cool asks, "When it happened?  Where it happened?"

Other students have doubts, until more facts come out.

Cool asks, "If it happened or not?"

"They're saying she did it for attention," says Joplin High School student Ashley Red.

The Joplin Police Department's incident report from Wednesday calls this a rape case, though police are still trying to figure out if any type of sex even happened.

"The victim went to the hospital, and officers went to the hospital and contacted her there," says Corporal Chuck Niess with the Joplin Police Department.

Potential medical evidence was taken, but is still being analyzed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol's crime lab.  Police aren't releasing the potential suspect's name or age, only saying he's a juvenile.  The potential suspect has not been arrested or questioned by police.

"Juveniles are a whole different ball game," says Niess.  "If you're going to interview a juvenile, you're going to have to have the parents and/or the juvenile officer present.  So, once they gather some more information, they may set that up in the next week."

Police say the girl claims the alleged rape happened in a stairwell.

"If you're asking if the school seems safe, it doesn't," says Cool.

School officials say there are hundreds of cameras throughout the high school, but none inside stairwells, only at the entrances and exits to the stairwells. 

Some students say they want to talk about how the alleged incident brings to light the need for more safety.  But students say staff won't allow it.

"They say it doesn't need to be talked about, it's not school appropriate.  It wasn't school appropriate when it happened, though," says Cool.

Students say regardless of whether or not this allegation proves true, the school needs more security cameras.

Since the alleged victim is over the age of 17, and if sexual intercourse did happen, investigators would have to determine whether or not the sex was consensual.

From Joplin Police:  "Cpl. Niess left a message letting me know you are interested in the number of sexual assaults reported at Joplin High School. I find a total of three sexual assaults reported at that location: one this year, and two in 2010. We also have sexual misconducts reported there: one each in 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2009, and two in 2010."

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