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701 Immokalee Drive
Immokalee, FL
Phone: 239-377-1800

701 Immokalee Drive Immokalee, FL 34142 Telephone: 239-377-1800 FAX: 239-377-1801 Principal: Linda Salazar School mission statement: The mission of Immokalee High School is to promote personal and educational excellence and to prepare students for the 21st century workplace, providing a ...

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— The four Immokalee High School football players accused of having group sex with a fellow student will not be returning to school anytime soon.

Collier County School District Spokesman Joe Landon said Kovan McSwain, Joshua Edison, Deonte Clifton and Demandrea Fuller, who are all 17, had due process hearings with Principal Linda Salazar Friday morning.

“As a consequence of the evidence received and reviewed, the principal is recommending suspension of 10 days for each of the four students and the assignment to the Phoenix alternative program for the remainder of the school year,” Landon wrote in an e-mail.

“The Phoenix Program is an alternative school program that seeks to provide educational opportunities for students that have been recommended for expulsion from the Collier County Public Schools,” according to the district’s Web site. “Students will be able to maintain their academics during the term of their recommendation for expulsion as long as they abide by a Behavior Contract that they enter into upon enrollment into Phoenix.”

The punishment also means no more football or other sports for the teens, Landon said.

“Of course they wanted to go back to school with their friends, but it didn’t work out like that,” said Homer Betancourt, an Immokalee youth pastor, whom Fuller has been living with recently.

Fuller was hoping to compete on the Immokalee wrestling team this year, but that’s not going to happen. Instead, he is looking to the future, possibly college or the military, Betancourt said.

“He’s hurt, but he’s trying to take a positive out of a negative,” Betancourt said.

Attempts to reach the families of the other three teens were unsuccessful Friday. When asked about the punishments, the father of the 15-year-old victim declined comment.

“No disrespect to anybody,” he said, “but under my attorney, I’m not supposed to talk to nobody about nothing.”

Salazar’s recommendations will be sent to Superintendent Dennis Thompson for his review and final action, Landon said.

On Oct. 15, the 15-year-old girl, whose name has not been released, accused the four star players of raping her next to a portable classroom across campus from where a junior varsity football game was being played. However, after questioning by investigators, the 15-year-old later admitted that she had, in fact, agreed to the sex, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The four players were arrested anyway on charges of lewd or lascivious battery — sexual act with a person 12 to 15 years old. It is against the law in Florida for anyone to engage in sex acts with a person under 16.

The State Attorney’s Office is in the process of reviewing investigative materials related to the case. The teens were released Thursday from the Collier County juvenile detention center, where they were held in secure detention for 21 days.

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