3 minors, 18-year-old charged following incident at Ripley High School

Five Ripley High School students charged after soccer workout incident
Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 3:19 PM EST
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RIPLEY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Three minors and an 18-year-old are facing charges following an incident that took place during a soccer workout at Ripley High School, police say.

According to the Ripley Police Department, the 18-year-old along with two of the minors have been charged with conspiracy and battery, while the third minor has been charged with sexual abuse, conspiracy, and battery.

Investigators identified the 18-year-old suspect as Jacob Banton. He was arrested last week and has since been released on bond, Ripley Police say. Banton’s next court appearance is set for Feb. 22.

The police department called the incident “isolated”.

Joe Mullins, the grandfather of two students at Ripley High called the incident and charges “horrible,” saying his grandchildren never had an experience like that at school.

“They love the high school,” he said. “Both [have] really good experiences and they’re doing well in school.”

Chief Bradley Anderson tells WSAZ.com the investigation started in November after it was brought to the department’s attention through a faculty member that overheard students talking about the incident.

“Kudos to the teacher because he or she could have just let it go and that’s definitely not the thing to do,” he said. “I just hope they get to the bottom of it. And that the minors, I mean, can be scarred for life or something like that.”

Mullins said while he’s close with his grandchildren already, he’s motivated to have more difficult conversations with them.

“I think both of them if they saw a student bullying someone, they would step in and try to stop it themselves, and then let faculty members know, I know them that well,” he said. “That’s the way they’ve been raised and that’s how every child should be raised, you don’t just sit back and let something like that happen.”

The Ripley Police Department said on its Facebook page, “There will be no further statements from the police department at this time to protect the juvenile victim in this case as this is our main goal.”

WSAZ reached out to Jackson County School District Officials who said they would not be commenting during an active investigation.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.