Second student suspended in sex incident

Superintendent to decide on any extra punishment

April 30, 2004|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

The second of three teen-agers officially cleared this week of raping a 15-year-old classmate at Mount Hebron High School in Howard County has been put on notice that he will - at a minimum - serve a 10-day suspension.

The mother of Roderick D. Rudolph, 15, was notified yesterday of Principal Veronica Bohn's decision to impose the longest punishment she could under the school system's discipline policy for violating rules barring sexual acts on school grounds. Bohn told the mother that she will have to meet with Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin, who could increase the punishment, said Rudolph's lawyer, Lawrence B. Rosenberg. The suspension was retroactive to Monday, he said.

Bohn said she did not think 10 days was "enough punishment," Rosenberg said. He said he believes the school system will try to expel the boys.

"What do they want to do to them? What more can they do?" he said. "The school is taking no responsibility whatsoever."

Rudolph's punishment mirrors that of 18-year-old Demitris R. Myrick, who received notification of Bohn's decision Wednesday.

It was still unclear yesterday what punishment the third teen-ager, Christopher S. Berry, 16, and the 15-year-old girl would face. Berry's lawyer, J. Wyndal Gordon, said he had not heard from his client's parents about any punishment. The girl's lawyer, Gary Wiessner, said he would not comment.

Rudolph, Myrick and Berry were charged with rape two weeks ago, less than a day after the girl said she was sexually assaulted in a school bathroom. A week later, prosecutors said the girl had recanted her story and indicated that they would not pursue the cases against the teens, who had insisted that the sexual contact was consensual.

Although their criminal cases officially ended Tuesday when prosecutors dropped all charges, all three still faced possible school sanctions.

School officials were able to decide on punishments for the students after meeting with the girl Wednesday, according to Director of Administration Michael Martirano. He declined to discuss the punishments, but said school officials are in the process of mailing letters to the students' families that will "clearly outline all the details and specifics" of their punishment.

According to the school system's discipline policy, principals may suspend students at their discretion for up to 10 days. But they must refer students to the school superintendent or his designee for punishments in excess of that, such as an alternative education placement, longer suspension or expulsion.

Staff writers Tricia Bishop and Gus Sentementes contributed to this article.

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