The boy, 15, was charged with five counts of rape because the ages of both girls, Vermilion police Detective Dan Shupe said.
The charges resulted from a joint investigation between the Vermilion police, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and Vermilion Local School District. It began after one of the girl’s parents brought it to the school’s attention.
“A mother found some text messages on her daughter’s phone,” Shupe said. “We interviewed the daughter who admitted to having consensual sex on four different occasions.”
Three of the encounters occurred on the school’s campus after the pair arranged to meet before and after school, according to Shupe. The other time it happened at the girl’s home in Erie County.
Vermilion superintendent Philip Pempin acknowledged the alleged sexual assaults occurred on school property, but stressed the nearly 80-acre campus, which includes both the middle and high school buildings, made constant supervision difficult.
“Unfortunately, it occurred in sections of our campus, and this isn’t an excuse, but it’s a challenge to have supervision on the entire campus especially before and after school,” Pempin said. “We try to have adults around the entire campus, but there are some area’s that are remote.”
During the interview, police learned of another girl who also admitted to having consensual sex with the boy. The boy is held in the Erie County Juvenile Justice Center.
On Tuesday, the school district sent a letter to parents to inform them of the investigation and reassure them that the safety of the students was the school’s top priority.
“We have an open door policy with our students here. If they see or hear something they’re encouraged to report it. We feel, for the most part, they’re comfortable opening up to our staff,” Pempin said. “We’re going to continue to make sure we’re monitoring our students.”
In the letter, Pempin said the school immediately reported it to authorities and were cooperating fully with the investigation. The school has suspended the student and has begun proceedings to have him expelled.
“We realize that these are serious and disturbing allegations and we’re doing everything we can to ascertain the truth and respond accordingly,” Pempin said in the letter.