SOUTH HAVEN (WWJ/AP) – Five high school varsity basketball players in southwestern Michigan have been charged in connection with reported sexual assaults involving an underage female schoolmate.

The boys — ages 18 and 17 —  attend South Haven High School and are charged as adults. They were questioned by a plainclothes officer at the school “quietly and with discretion,” police said, before they were arrested and arraigned Tuesday on third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Each was released on a $1,000 bond, according to police. reports that the incidents allegedly occurred between Nov. 1 and Dec. 6 at various locations including the girl’s home. Police say each incident involved only the girl, who is between 13 and 15 years old,  and one of the suspects.

Police said the suspects’ names are being withheld for the time being, and that the alleged victim’s name will not be released.

In a statement, South Haven Police Chief Natalie Thompson said her department will continue to work with school officials and prosecutors to ensure that justice will be done in this case.

“Emotions may run deep in this matter in our community, and we understand that not all may agree with the laws concerning the age of consent,” Thompson said. “As a police department, we have a sworn duty to uphold the law. When we are notified of an alleged crime, we must investigate it funny and impartially. When then turn over our investigation to the prosecutor’s office, who makes a judgement if and how to proceed.”

“Our thoughts are with the families of all those involved in this alleged matter,” she added. “While the law may see some of them as adults, we understand that they are teenagers. We are concerned for the well-being of all those involved.”

South Haven schools Superintendent Robert Herrera said the district can’t comment on disciplinary action against students.

A probable cause conference in the case is scheduled for Wednesday at the 7th District Court West in South Haven.


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