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Legal expert shares analysis after Caldwell students arrested for undressing fellow student on bus

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 5:01 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2021 at 6:04 PM CDT
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CALDWELL, Texas (KBTX) - Questions remain after the arrests of four Caldwell High School students accused of felony indecency with a child by exposure. Some students walked out of class early at the high school Thursday afternoon as a sign of protest and this week’s pep rally has been postponed.

The case is being handled in Milam County after another student was attacked on a school bus while they were traveling near Cameron.

The four teenage girls were arrested for undressing a fellow student when their team headed home from a game. Court documents talk about how they targeted the girl and were, ”Looking for someone to rape.” It also states teachers were in the front of the bus and one of the girls worked actively to distract them with loud music and singing.

A defendant also told a witness, “We basically just raped your sister on the bus ride home,” when they were back at school.

“That word rape is a loaded word and that would be the evidence that would support an indecency by exposure,” said Lane Thibodeaux, a Defense Attorney based in Bryan.

Thibodeaux is a Board Certified defense attorney in Criminal Law. We showed him court documents to get his independent perspective on the case.

Three attorneys representing some of the defendants told KBTX they think the charges won’t stick based on accounts of the incident and believe it’s a case of overcharging.

“The Milam County District Attorney’s Office; either the elected District Attorney or one of his assistants... Will take a look at the investigative information and make a decision whether or not the case will be presented to a grand jury,” said Thibodeaux.

Milam County officials tell us the grand jury is scheduled to convene Nov. 18.

Parents also have questions about the fate of the four students arrested. Caldwell ISD’s Code of Conduct details mandatory expulsion, listing crimes including indecency with a child, but Superintendent Andrew Peters told us that’s not mandatory in this case.

Peters said Wednesday they were investigating issues past and present, but couldn’t say more Thursday. He added he’s still waiting to hear back from Milam County’s District Attorney following multiple calls.

“When you look at the other witness statements and try to dovetail everything together, this appears to be more like a targeted, ritualistic hazing type of incident rather than one that was done to sexually arouse or gratify,” said Thibodeaux.

We also called the Milam County District Attorney’s Office again Thursday and they told us they do not comment on current investigations.

Our messages for the Milam County Sheriff’s Office haven’t been returned.

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.

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