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District Attorney: No charges in alleged elementary school assault

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The Pitt County Chapter of the NAACP spoke out Thursday morning. The Pitt County Chapter of the NAACP spoke out Thursday morning.
GREENVILLE, N.C. -

The Pitt County District Attorney's office tells 9 On Your Side that there will be no charges in the case of an alleged sexual assault at Pactolus Elementary School.

They said they're closing the investigation of the 7-year-old girl who claiming a teenager raped her at the school. 

Assistant State Attorney Jay Saunders said the case will stay closed unless someone brings forward new evidence.

Saunders also said he stands by the Pitt County Sheriff's Office for conducting a thorough investigation.

"From the very beginning of the investigation, they put in a lot of hours and the investigation was done thoroughly and done appropriately," Saunders said in an interview with 9 On Your Side's Andrew Ruiz.

Attorney David Sutton represents the girl's family. He said they will regroup and figure out how to move forward.

--- Previous Story ---

The Pitt County chapter of the NAACP met Wednesday morning to discuss a sexual assault case reported at an elementary school.

The alleged assault happened back in May at Pactolus Elementary.
     
The parents of the 7-year-old victim reported the crime to the school system, which notified the Pitt County Sheriff's Office.

The NAACP is speaking out after the sheriff's office announced no criminal charges would be filed.

"At best the response of the sheriff's office has been incompetent and half hearted, but worse, it appears that they do not want to know what happened," said Caroline Sutton, Educational Chair Pitt County NAACP.

9 On Your Side contacted the Pitt County Sheriff's Office for comment and released a statement:

"The allegations against the Pitt County Sheriff's Office are completely false. At this point we have investigated every lead that we had to make a determination in the allegations in this case. We have gone as far as we can go. Now it has been turned over to the DA's office per the Pitt County sexual assault protocol."

Kimberly Robb, Pitt County's District Attorney also issued a statement:

"We have a protocol in place in our office for review of all allegations of this type.  We have used it since the early 90's.  An ADA screens the cases and after the investigation is complete, the SAME ADA makes a charging decision. Jay Saunders is the ADA who began the screening process last week.  He asked for a few follow-up investigative items.  He is on vacation this week, and as such, does NOT have the results of the latest request.  He will return on Monday and will subsequently make a decision regarding whether or not to charge. "

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The Pitt County Chapter of the NAACP is calling the handling of the alleged sexual assault at an elementary school "gross negligence."

During a press conference Thursday morning the father of the 7-year-old victim says he's daughter was traumatized and that's why she didn't tell her family until a week later.  The family says the incident happened back on May 28th at Pactolus Elementary school.

9 On Your Side is not identifying the father in order to protect the identity of the 7-year-old victim.

"She was basically kidnapped," he said, "He wouldn't let her out of the bathroom. I've very disgusted. I'm very displeased with the school system and I'm angry. But I'm trying to do it the right way and try and let the officials do their job."

Officials with the Pitt County Schools System say they did.  They issued a statement Thursday afternoon:

First and foremost, it should be noted that Pitt County Schools values the safety and well-being of all students. Allegations as serious as those that have been made regarding a student at Pactolus always have been and will be handled with urgency and great concern.

It is important to note in this case that Pitt County Schools was first notified of this alleged incident on June 5. The school principal was told by law enforcement at that time. Since then, school officials have spent hours with law enforcement and cooperated fully with their investigation in myriad ways, including, but not limited to, the distribution of camera footage at the school and multiple interviews.

Due to privacy laws, we are limited in the information we can share publicly. It is critical that we respect the rights of everyone involved in this accusation and allow for due process. Until there is a resolution, we will continue to cooperate fully in any way we can. Once law enforcement has completed its investigation, we will follow up with the enforcement of our student code of conduct if applicable. Thanks for your understanding.

The NAACP is calling for the resignation of the Pitt County Superintendent, Director of Student Services and the Pactolus Elementary School Principal.

It's another call for action just a day after Sheriff's detectives said they will give due process to both victim and suspect before making any arrests.

The investigation is still on-going and no one was been charged or arrested.

--- Previous Story ---

A Pitt County elementary school student claims another student sexually assaulted her on school property.

According to reports, the student says she was assaulted May 28th at Pactolus Elementary but investigators say her parents didn't report it until June 4th.

Deputies say they are doing everything they can to investigate this case but the NAACP says they aren't doing enough.

"An arrest needs to be made. This was a 7-year-old child. A baby," said NAACP Pitt County chapter president, Calvin Henderson.

He had strong words for investigators, but Pitt County deputies have a strong message of their own.

"We certainly will not be bullied by any organization who thinks that we need to make an arrest, just for the sake of making an arrest," said Captain Paula Dance, with the Pitt County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators have not released the ages of the students allegedly involved in the sexual assault. But Henderson says the victim is just 7-years-old and her accused attacker is 14 or 15. Students at the school range from kindergarten to 8th grade.

Pitt County school administrators say they received the report on June 5th, a day after the Sheriff's office was notified. Since that time they say they've been fully cooperating with the investigation.

But Henderson says investigators and the school board aren't doing enough.

"They have just dropped the ball and we want to know why," he said.

Dance says it's not an open and shut case.

"We have to take those allegations and investigate them. That does not mean we don't believe the victim but we want to make sure that we can substantiate what the victim says in any sexual assault," she said.

In the meantime, the NAACP says they aren't giving up. And neither are investigators.

"I certainly would like to extend to any organization who does an outside investigation, independent of ours, to share that information with us. If this information is useful, we'll use it. If not, you know, we appreciate your time and effort but we're going to do it the way we've done it in the past and it seems to work," said Dance.

There will be a press conference Thursday morning about this case in front of NAACP headquarters in Greenville.

--- Original Story ---

The Pitt County Sheriff's Office is investigating a report of a sexual assault at an elementary school.

Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Christy Wallace tells us the victim could possibly be as young as 7. The assault reportedly happened at Pactolus Elementary School.

Pitt County Schools PIO Brock Letchworth tells 9 On Your Side law enforcement notified the school system June 5. Since that time, he says they have been full cooperative with their investigation of this very serious allegation.

9 On Your Side is working to gather more information on this case.

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