Johnston Police and Students Trying to Understand Accusations Against Four Teens

JOHNSTON, Iowa  --  Four Johnston teenagers will be in court on Friday morning for the first time to answer to accusations of sexually assaulting a classmate.

18-year-old Morgan Hough, 17-year-old Ritter Stahlbaum and 15-year-olds Kaden Dishman and Noah Lamar are each charged with Second Degree Sexual Abuse, Assault and First Degree Robbery.  According to a police report the four boys sexually assaulted another 15-year-old boy at Hough's house on September 8th.  The victim reported the assault to school officials who immediately contacted police.

"It's very unusual, I can't say I've ever worked a case like this," says Johnston Police Lieutenant Tyler Tompkins, "I've been doing this for 15 years now. I can't say I've worked another case like this."

Police are not releasing many details due to the age of the victim and the nature of the attack.  However they say the victim was penetrated by an object during the assault.

"It's a difficult case. I mean, any case like this that you deal with these serious types of charges takes a toll on the officer and especially ones that deal with kids," says Tompkins, "We're here to protect the community and when you get into a more vulnerable part of the community yes it does take a toll on our officers."

Students at Johnston High School say they're shaken up by the news.  This week is homecoming week at the school, a week that's supposed to be a celebration of school spirit and unity.

"Everyone's shocked actually because you wouldn't think this would happen at a high school," says sophomore Sam Wiggins, "I mean you know how bullying and all that stuff is, but this? I don't think anybody saw this stuff coming."  Wiggins says he knows the two younger suspects and says this is out of character for them.  "I think they just got caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time and they made a mistake. Obviously that doesn't change anything, what happened happened, but they definitely were not the instigators."

Police have not said how the assault started by they say its clear that none of the four suspects stepped in to stop it.