Casper Police: Roughly 15 Girls Targeted in Sexual Battery ‘Game’
Some 15 girls have reported being touched inappropriately at Casper middle schools and high schools in the past two weeks as part of a "game" or "challenge" allegedly perpetrated by male students.
The girls who were targeted range in grade level from sixth grade to 12th grade, Sgt. Scott Jones of the Casper Police Department told K2 Radio News in a phone interview Monday. As victims continue to come forward, Jones added, police have roughly six to 10 suspects who span approximately the same age range.
"Groups of boys have been daring one another to single out a female student, catch the student in a vulnerable position and touch what state statute defines as 'intimate parts,'" Jones said. "We're encouraging all female students to come forth who have been a victim of this."
"We also want parents to have a conversation with their sons and reinforce the fact that this is completely unacceptable behavior," Jones continued.
The "game" or "challenge," as the incidents have been called according to a Friday email from the Natrona County School District to parents, is not isolated to one particular school.
"It seems to be rampant throughout the district," Jones explained. "We're working with school staff to try to find out exactly what the motivating factor is and why this has become such an issue as of late."
"But right now we're just trying to put a stop to it. We take it, obviously, very, very seriously," Jones added. He said in appropriate cases, criminal charges are being filed through the Natrona County District Attorney's office.
It appears, Jones told K2 Radio News, that all middle schools and high schools in Casper have had at least one incident reported.
"At this point, it doesn't appear that any of our middle or high schools are immune from this kind of incident occurring," Jones said, noting that he could not speak to whether any reports had been received at Midwest schools as they are covered by the Natrona County Sheriff's Office, not Casper police.
Following the reports of sexual battery, Jones said roughly half a dozen criminal investigations had been opened and resolved as of last week, either through issuing a citation or filing a warrant request via prosecutors.
"We may have one suspect responsible for multiple incidents, as well," Jones said.
As of Monday, misdemeanor sexual battery is the only crime that has been charged in connection with the reports. Jones said it's possible that more severe incidents have not yet been reported.
"I hope there isn't. I hope it hasn't gotten to that point," Jones said.
In Wyoming, sexual battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.