May 10, 2006

St. Louis schoolboys to be charged in sex assault

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A dozen schoolboys aged 6 to 8 years
old will be charged for allegedly sexually assaulting a female
classmate during recess and a teacher who was supposed to be
supervising them has been fired, authorities said on Wednesday.

In the Friday incident, the boys surrounded the 8-year-old
girl on the school playground and poked at her with their
fingers while she fought to keep on her underwear, local media
reports said. Another student alerted teachers.

Most of the boys involved were expelled and the girl
removed from the 400-pupil school, Columbia Accelerated
Community Educational Center. One teacher was fired and another
was suspended, the school district superintendent said.

Police referred charges of sexual misconduct and assault
against the boys, and prosecutors could bring additional
charges, said Kathryn Herman, an administrator with the
juvenile division of the St. Louis court system.

"It's quite rare we get delinquency referrals on such young
children," Herman said.