News :: Crime

Ga. Varsity Football Player Accused of Sexually Assaulting Teammate

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Thursday Nov 1, 2012
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A football player from a prestigious Atlanta, Ga., private school has been accused of sexually assaulting his teammate in the school’s gym showers, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

According to Atlanta police, William Jackson Houk, 17, turned himself over to authorities on Sunday and has been charged with aggravated sexual battery. Houck, a varsity football player for the elite Westminster School, is currently in Fulton County Jail and has been denied bond. He will appear in court on Monday.

Westminster School’s president, William Clarkson, sent an email to parents, school trustees and staff on Monday in order to notify them that police are investigating the incident as a sexual assault.

"I write to you in order to express deep concern regarding an incident that took place last week involving a few students on the varsity football team," Clarkson wrote. "I can assure you that we have taken all steps within the school’s strict guidelines and protocols regarding such matters, including the fulfillment of our responsibility to report this particular incident to the Atlanta police. They are now in charge of the investigation, and we are cooperating fully with them."

Clarkson said he had not assembled the pieces together about the alleged assault at this time. "It’s very, very fuzzy to me about just exactly who may have witnessed it," he wrote, "but the police took over the investigation and told us to back off and it was in their hands."

The newspaper reported that, according to Clarkson, the school found out about the incident when coaches overheard students talking during practice and were questioning the alleged victim, who he said "is a really, really good kid. I think he just wants it to be over."

The alleged incident occurred on Oct. 22 and Houk’s aunt, whom Houk had been staying with while his parents were on a trip overseas, was contacted the next day.

The AJC points out that Georgia law defines sexual battery as occurring whenever a foreign object is inserted into the body of another person. Aggravated sexual battery is one of the more serious criminal offenses and is known as one of the state’s "seven deadly sins" for teenagers for which they can be tried as an adult.

If Houk is convicted, he can get up to 25 years to life in prison. There will be no chance for parole unless he is sentenced for life.

Clarkson said this is the first time a sexual assault incident has occurred at Westminster.

"For 60 years, Westminster has maintained appropriately high standards for student conduct," he wrote. "This has been the foundation of our school and is essential for the success of our students. It is important to emphasize to our students, our parents and our community that conduct not meeting those standards will not be tolerated."

Some of the school’s parents talked to Atlanta’s Fox affiliate station about the incident and said they were satisfied with how the school’s administration were handling it.

"The coaches sort of sniffed it out and decided they were going to get to the bottom of it," one parent told Fox 5. "If that’s what happened, then I think they did a good job."

Another parent told the TV station that she does not believe the incident will ruin Westminster’s prestigious reputation. "You’ve got 60 years and prior to that it was a military school and nothing like this has ever happened," the parent said. "It’s such a fluke."

According to the AJC, the school has more than 1,800 students enrolled from kindergarten through 12th Grade. Most students matriculate to the University of Georgia, while many others are entered into Ivy League schools and other elite universities such as Stanford. Tuition ranges between about $20,000 a year for early grades to more than $22,000 a year for students in the Sixth Grade and higher.

Sex among male students is certainly not unknown at private schools. In English private schools, called "public schools" there, there is a tradition of boys passing through such a phase, or not. The subject has been fodder for many works of literature and film, such as Evelyn Waugh’s "Brideshead Revisited" and "Another Country," a fictional account of how such relationships fostered a cadre of English elite that went on to spy for the Soviet Union.

The the Westminster case, however, it appears that whatever happened was nonconsensual and may have involved a hazing ritual, although authorities at the school and police have not confirmed that.

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2012-11-01 11:40:41

    Another parent, who is as dumb, inebriated and medicated as she is wealthy (we’ll just call her Anonymous), said "You’ve got 60 years and prior to that it was a military school and nothing like this has ever happened, It’s such a fluke".


  • Anonymous, 2012-11-01 13:46:08

    Really want to see how this ends up when they are dealing with people that have money...


  • Anonymous, 2012-11-01 13:52:31

    Money talks, Rape gets pleaded down to hijinks and capers and boys horsin’ around.


  • Anonymous, 2012-11-01 14:10:45

    Going to see if the news covers his release as they do in most cases when something like this happens. Very interesting, this case went from being a sexual assault to a sexual battery; like you said money talks.


  • Anonymous, 2012-11-02 19:55:09

    Westminister was never a military school. I think you are confusing it with Woodward Academy. Westminster was called Washington Seminary.


  • Anonymous, 2012-11-02 20:07:49

    I’m not confused about what I read.


  • Anonymous, 2012-11-04 20:10:27

    I actually am a student at The Westminster Schools who has personally known the accused for 10 years now. The news reports don’t know the entire story so before you go and start bantering about money and his sentencing, I would advise you to take everything with a grain of salt.


  • Anonymous, 2012-11-05 08:25:58

    Those of you spewing about the power of money should shape your views on facts not gossip. As for ’ not confused about what you read’. Is your point she thinks it is a fluke? That she was drugged, drunk and wealthy? Or that she thinks Westminster was a Military School? Does anyone truly believe a bright, talented, young man should go to prison for 25 years with no chance of parole for a act that will probably prove to be minor? And one that mist likely occurs on every High School and College campus in America? A student, possibly eye witness has posted that what is in the news is not accurate. I chose the eye witness account.


  • Anonymous, 2012-11-05 10:37:41

    Let’s talk about the victim. How about it? This young man that was a VICTIM of a sex crime, will live with the scar of this event for the rest of his life. I should know. A similar circumstance happened to me. He will go through hell attempting to cope. His life can never be the same. As far as what is true in what has been reported, our living memory of the perpitrated torture seems similar. 20 yrs. Have passed since the sex crime incident ripped a hole in my soul. Every time I see anything to do with Football, I remember. When I smell the inside of a lockeroom, I remember. When I hear the laughs of young men having fun, I remember. When my male friends try and hug me, I remember. The victim can never know complete or close to the mark justice. As hard as we try we cannot forget because we are always reminded. Those " grains of salt" are constantly forced into the wound. So, If this happened to you, what’s the proper punishment?


  • Jason Southerland, 2012-11-08 08:40:28

    Nobody has addressed the one positive point here: the coaches overheard something, investigated it and got the police involved. Perhaps they learned something from the Jerry Sandusky scandal and decided to do things differently. If that’s the real story, then I applaud them for being willing to risk the "reputation" of a private, elite school for what is right.


  • Anonymous, 2012-11-08 08:52:22

    Sorry you endured a sexual assault. Did you read this? "I actually am a student at The Westminster Schools who has personally known the accused for 10 years now. The news reports don’t know the entire story so before you go and start bantering about money and his sentencing, I would advise you to take everything with a grain of salt.? Your personal account of how this victim feels and will feel the rest of his life is based on an ASSUMPTION the same thing happened here, thus a nice "sharing moment" but not valuable at this point. Again, wait for eye witness accounts to surface and then assume things of the victim and perpetrator. Secondary sources of information or "overhearing some boys talking" is akin to gossip at this point.


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