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Police confirm suspect, who has not yet been identified publicly, had several victims

FILE PHOTO - John F. Kennedy High SchoolA Mount Angel teenager is being charged with rape and sex abuse crimes, some of which were allegedly committed at Kennedy High School.

Mount Angel Police Chief Mark Daniel said the suspect is believed to have turned 18 since his arrest on Dec. 15, 2017, but noted the alleged crimes occurred while the suspect was still a minor.

"It's still an ongoing investigation so the finer points have yet to be completely resolved," he said. "For that reason I'm not releasing his name."

There are several victims in the case, Daniel confirmed, all of whom are juveniles.

"These incidents were not stranger-on-stranger based," Daniel said.

The investigation began when there was a complaint reported to the school resource officer regarding sexting (sexually explicit text messages). As the investigation progressed, he discovered more alleged acts that were criminal in nature.

"As a part of the investigation, because there are several victims here, the crimes were alleged to have occurred on school grounds and in other locations around Mount Angel," Daniel said.

The suspect was arrested for one count of harassment (sexual contact), two counts of first-degree rape and one count of public indecency. First-degree rape is a Measure 11 crime, which means, if convicted of first-degree rape, the suspect would have to serve a mandatory minimum sentence of eight years, four months.

Daniel said it's unclear if there are other victims.

"If there are more victims out there, we would certainly like to hear from them so we can investigate any other crimes of this nature," Daniel said.

Daniel said he feels confident this incident does not reflect the culture of the school or town.

"I want people to know that I believe our children are safe in this community," he said. "Our schools do a fabulous job of trying to keep kids safe when they go to school. We have an SRO who spends a lot of time there working with kids. … We have investigated, we were able to determine a crime was committed, and we were able to take care of it as quickly as we could. … I think folks can rest easy that we have a great school district, we have a great SRO and we're doing everything we can to maintain a very safe and healthy environment at our schools."

Similarly, a letter from Superintendent Troy Stoops was sent home to parents in January concerning the incident.

"Our school staff have cooperated with Mt. Angel police in their investigation, which involved two alleged victims," the letter read. "I want to assure you that we are responding to this incident in accordance with district policy and procedures, which are designed to ensure that students have a safe learning environment. We understand that these allegations can affect our students emotionally, and our counselors in each building are available for those in need of support. As always, student safety and support are the center of our priorities."

However, he does caution parents of teenagers to educate themselves and their kids on matters involving their children's electronic devices.

"It's a really important thing for parents to be involved in their kids' lives, especially when it comes to social media and texting," he said. "It's really important for parents to be involved and have discussions about what appropriate uses of those media are and what potential pitfalls might be, and letting them know there are ramifications for everything we do."

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