701 Immokalee Drive
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 ...More about Immokalee High School »
IMMOKALEE — Four Immokalee High School football players accused of having group sex with a 15-year-old girl on school grounds entered not guilty pleas at their arraignments this week.
Joshua Edison, Deonte Clifton and Demandrea Fuller are to return to court on Dec. 21, while Kovan McSwain will have a hearing on Jan. 7.
None of the teens, who are all 17, appeared before Collier Circuit Judge Lauren Brodie in juvenile court on Monday because written pleas had already been entered on a felony charge of lewd or lascivious battery.
The charge involves sex with a person 12 to 15 years old, below the age of consent, and is punishable by up to 15 years in a state prison if they're prosecuted as adults.
Edison and Fuller are being represented by the Office of Public Defender, which would have to turn over one of those cases to the State Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel because it's a conflict to represent two charged in one crime. The other teens have hired private attorneys, but their lawyers' names were not available because juvenile cases are not public.
A 15-year-old girl accused the four star players of raping her next to a portable classroom across campus from a junior varsity football game that was going on. But during questioning by Collier County Sheriff's investigators, she later admitted she'd agreed to have sex with them. However, the girl's father has denied that.
Due to the sexual nature of the case, the girl's name is being withheld by the Daily News.
The teens haven't been formally charged, just arrested, and the State Attorney's Office is now reviewing the she-said, he-said allegations to determine whether they should be prosecuted as adults. School surveillance cameras did not capture the incident.
After their arrests, the teens were held in secure detention at the county's juvenile detention center for 21 days, the maximum after a review by the Juvenile Assessment Center determines they are a risk to society. They were released to their parents and guardians on Nov. 5.
The next day, School Principal Linda Salazar held due-process hearings with each teen after reviewing the evidence and recommended 10-day suspensions and that they be assigned to the Phoenix Program, an alternative school.