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Four Caldwell High School students arrested for incident on school bus

Four students are facing felony charges after another student was attacked
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 3:41 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2021 at 9:24 AM CDT
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CALDWELL, Texas (KBTX) - Four Caldwell High School students are facing felony charges for an incident on a school bus on Sept. 21.

Milam County law enforcement issued warrants for four students accused of indecency with a child by exposure. Court documents show the incident happened when a sports team was returning to Caldwell. The four female students are accused of trying to take the clothes off of another student. The allegations happened near Cameron so Milam County investigators have taken lead on the case. Court documents describe how they tried to undress a fellow student.

They say one defendant told investigators they were looking for a target to rape. The victim said her shorts and underwear were pulled down to her shins.

One defendant claimed it was a tradition that happens each year. We asked Caldwell ISD if that was true and Superintendent Andrew Peters said they are investigating that.

Court documents also stated a defendant walked up to a person and said, “We basically just raped your [relative] on the bus ride home.”

Teachers were in the front of the bus and one for the girls worked actively to distract them with loud music and singing, according to court documents.

One suspect is 18 while the other three are 17. Given the ages and of those involved and the serious nature of the crime, KBTX has made the editorial decision to withhold the names of those involved. As the case moves through the justice system, that decision will be reevaluated. All four of the students were booked and released at the Burleson County Jail last Thursday on personal recognizance bonds of $20,000.

“Caldwell ISD is committed to providing a safe environment for all students. We currently are actively in an investigation and cannot comment at this time,” said Kim Pagach, Caldwell ISD Director of Communications, in a prepared statement.

Three defense attorneys representing the students believe the charges will be dismissed based on their knowledge of the case. Attorneys representing several of the students tell us this was a prank or possible hazing incident. Defense Attorney Craig Greening told us the intent of the students was to “pants” the fellow student but at no time was that victim naked.

“We found out that the deputy in Milam County got an arrest warrant from a J.P. in Milam County without consulting the District Attorney in Milam County first. Which we believe is a classic case of overcharging,” said Greening.

Greening showed us witness statements that had just been subpoenaed.

“We believe that this was a prank... We don’t believe that this should be a sexual offense,” said Greening.

Many in town are asking why this isn’t being investigated in Burleson County. While the crime happened on a Caldwell ISD bus, they were traveling in Milam County.

“The Burleson County Sheriff’s Office did not have jurisdiction to file any charges so we met with the mother and we explained to her the process what she needed to do. We referred her to the Milam County Sheriff’s Office,” Chief Deputy John Pollock, of the Burleson County Sheriff’s Office.

Caldwell’s superintendent told us Wednesday this bus did not have a camera on it because it was new. He says all buses now have cameras. We’ve also left messages with the Milam County Sheriff’s Office for more details on their case, but have not heard back.

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