More involved in September attack than previously reported

By | 2018-01-15T15:54:39-04:00 April 12th, 2002|Uncategorized|

EAST LANSING – Documents about the brutal Sept. 17 gay bashing at Eastern High School released Nov. 5 by the Lansing School District show accused attacker Jeremy Lee was aided in his attack by another unidentified non-student intruder and an Eastern High School student.
The documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that investigators and school officials were aware on the day of the attack that Lee was accompanied onto school property by a student and a non-student.
Police have confirmed that Lee allegedly attacked the victim because the two may have had a sexual relationship, and the student may have been talking about this. The incident has been labeled a gay bashing by the Triangle Foundation and the Lansing Police Department.
The victim remains hospitalized and he is reportedly making improvement.
Lansing Police Detective James Gill, who led the investigation into the beating that left the 16-year-old student in a coma, said the second non-student intruder has not been positively identified. He says officials only have a street name and are continuing to look for this individual.
Gill said he was unclear whether or not trespassing charges would be sought against this individual, but said it was a possibility if it turned out the person is not a student of the school.
In addition to the two non-students, a then 17-year-old EHS student was allegedly involved, according to the district. The district expelled the student in early October for his alleged involvement, according to the documents.
Lansing Schools Spokesman Mark Mayes declined to comment on the expulsion, saying it was policy of the school district not to comment on disciplinary actions taken.
However, when asked about the student and his expulsion for allegedly playing a role in the attack, Gill said, “The young man, (name of student removed), was our best witness. I don’t believe he had anything to do with it.” Gill said this student’s testimony was the reason Lee has been bound over for trial.
Gill said the expulsion of this student is “not appropriate.”
The documents also raise concerns about the School District’s handling of the incident, specifically what information they provided the public. In a letter dated Sept. 21, four days after the assault, from Eastern Principal Pamela Diggs, parents were told “an intruder” entered the property and assaulted a student. The letter fails to mention that it was two outside intruders and a student.
The documents show that the district was well aware of the unidentified second intruder and the student’s alleged involvement when the letter was written. The student was suspended from EHS on Sept. 20 for his alleged involvement.
When confronted with this information, Mayes said the district has been completely honest about the attack. “We released what we felt was prudent to release based on the information provided by the police. We specifically referred all questions on the investigation to the Lansing police department,” Mayes said. “At that time there was still a police investigation going on at that time. That Lansing police department was investigating it and they were releasing the information.”
In actuality, at the time the letter was written, Lee was in custody and had been arraigned. This process made the results of the investigation public information. This included the fact that there were two non-student intruders and a student allegedly involved. With that information, the district could have released the information in its possession, but chose not to.
Mayes says even in light of that information, the letter was accurate. “I do not see a problem with what the letter says, no.” He said the district has never had a plan to follow up with the letter and discuss the fact that there were others allegedly involved.
When asked if the district was being honest about this incident, Gill said, “No, that letter would not be accurate to the facts we had at the time. The district has been less than honest on this incident all along.”

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