Lawrence High School student who played on football team charged with felony sex crime

photo by: Mackenzie Clark

The Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, which houses Douglas County District Court and a number of other criminal justice services at 111 E. 11th St., is pictured April 8, 2020.

A Lawrence High School student who previously played for the school’s football team was charged with a felony sex crime in Douglas County District Court on Wednesday.

The teen is a minor who was born in 2005, and he made his first appearance in the court’s juvenile division alongside his mother on Wednesday. He was charged with attempted aggravated indecent liberties with a child between the ages of 14 and 16, which is a level 5 felony, according to a charging document provided to the Journal-World.

The charging document alleges that the teen was found with a child in a state of undress with the intent to commit the crime, but failed to do so or was prevented from doing so. The alleged incident occurred between Aug. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020, the document shows.

In court, Judge Paul Klepper appointed Danielle Packer to serve as the teen’s attorney and scheduled the teen’s next court appearance for Aug. 18.

The teen recently participated in a summer event with the Lawrence High School football team, which was broadcast on social media. Comments on the social media post criticized the team for including him, and students held a protest at a school board meeting the next week demanding that leaders act to address sexual assault and harassment in the district.

While the protesters did not name the teen, some students held signs that said “Playing football does not excuse your actions,” “Justice delayed is justice denied” and “Students over sports,” the Journal-World previously reported.

photo by: Dylan Lysen/Lawrence Journal-World

A group of Lawrence students hold signs calling for the Lawrence school district to take action in improving policies for addressing sexual assault and harassment in its schools, during a school board meeting on Monday, June 28, 2021.

At the school board meeting, Superintendent Anthony Lewis said that when the district receives allegations of serious crimes such as sexual assault, its process is to share those reports with law enforcement, which can then investigate the allegations. He also said that because of privacy concerns, the school district does not publicly announce disciplinary actions it takes against students.

According to the school district’s code of conduct policy, the district may suspend a student from participating in extracurricular activities if they are charged with a felony offense. District spokeswoman Julie Boyle confirmed in an email Wednesday night that the teen was no longer participating in football.

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