4 Cleveland ISD students arrested for alleged gang rape

March 4, 2011 9:02:28 PM PST
We have new information on a case we've been following since December. Four more teenagers have been arrested, accused of raping an 11-year-old girl in Liberty County.

The Cleveland Independent School District students were taken into custody as classes let out of school Friday afternoon.

At the local courthouse, family and friends of the four latest young men arrested gather and try to comprehend.

"I've been hearing about it, but until I found out my grandson was involved in it I didn't know," said Inez Dickerson.

She says she wants to support her grandson, who's one of three students from Cleveland High School arrested this afternoon. The fourth suspect is a middle school student.

Lemica Dickerson didn't know her son was under arrest until another student called her.

"They never called me, not once. I haven't gotten a call from the principal. They took my son from the school and I didn't even know they're gone," said Lemica Dickerson.

With families watching, all four teenagers, including a high-profile star athlete, were processed through a Justice of the Peace Friday night. They're charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, accused of the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl during last year's Thanksgiving holidays.

"Honestly, we really don't know what to feel. We're saddened by it, it's hard for the whole community along with the whole school district; it's difficult to deal with," said Cleveland ISD Spokesperson Stacey Gatlin.

Already, authorities already arrested 10 other suspects in this wide ranging case during February. The addition of four other suspects, who are all students, is the talk of this small town. The alleged victim's family has withdrawn her from the school district. But for the families of the suspects, the charges are difficult to comprehend.

When we asked her if she believed any of the charges were true, Inez Dickerson said, "I can't say. I hope not, but we'll just have to wait and see."

Cleveland ISD says it will take the necessary administrative actions once legal proceedings and due process have occurred.

You can read more about this story in The Cleveland Advocate, one of our Houston Community Newspaper partners online.