CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Two Tennessee high school basketball coaches and their athletic director went before a juvenile court judge in a Chattanooga courtroom Thursday morning to answer charges that they failed to report the alleged rape and assault of a freshman player by three of his Ooltewah High School teammates.
Three members of the basketball team, all juveniles, face charges of aggravated rape and aggravated assault on the 15-year-old student and might ultimately be tried as adults.
Earlier this month, the remainder of the team's season was canceled by Hamilton County superintendent Rick Smith. On Thursday night, Smith agreed to step aside from his position amid growing criticism for how the incident was handled.
Ooltewah High School head basketball coach Andre Montgomery, assistant Karl Williams and athletic director Allard "Jesse" Nayadley all stand accused of failing to report a sex crime involving a minor, a class A misdemeanor.
The complaint against the men notes that Tennessee law requires "mandatory reports of child abuse, apparent child sexual abuse or child sexual abuse."
On Thursday, a juvenile court judge decided that rather than being required to enter pleas, the three men are entitled to a preliminary hearing, which is scheduled for Feb. 15.
Outside the Lines has obtained previously unreleased details of the alleged rape, details contained within a sealed incident report that is part of the criminal case against the three juvenile defendants.
The cabin the team rented for its Dec. 19-23 trip to a basketball tournament in Gatlinburg, roughly two hours from Chattanooga, had five bedrooms, two upstairs and three downstairs.
Montgomery, his wife and the couple's daughter shared one of the upstairs bedrooms, and Williams was in the other upstairs bedroom.
The 14 players shared the three downstairs bedrooms.
According to the incident report, Montgomery and Williams were in the rental cabin when the alleged rape occurred.
One Ooltewah player, a junior who said he did not witness the alleged rape, told ESPN that the coaches were upstairs, cleaning up after dinner, when he heard his freshman teammate scream out in pain.
Williams was the first to come downstairs to see what had happened, the junior player said.
Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston told ESPN that the coaches found a 15-year-old freshman player covered in blood, urine and feces.
According to the police report of the incident, two 16-year-old sophomores and a 17-year-old senior member of the team had locked the door to a downstairs bedroom and overpowered the freshman, wrestling him onto the bed.
All three of the teens admitted to their roles in the attack, according to the report.
One of the 16-year-olds told police that he held his freshman teammate down on the bed by lying across his back, while the other 16-year-old held down his teammate by the hips.
The 17-year-old then pressed a pool cue against the freshman's clothing with so much force that it broke through the teen's clothing and penetrated his rectum, according to the police report.
The 17-year-old told an investigating officer that he "accidentally" used too much force and later described the alleged assault as "horseplay."
When confronted with the injured teen, neither Montgomery nor Williams called police.
The alleged rape, which happened shortly after 7 p.m. Dec. 22, according to Pinkston, wasn't reported to Gatlinburg Police until 12:34 a.m. Dec. 23, according to the police report of the incident.
The police were ultimately called not by Montgomery, Williams or Nayadley, who was on the trip to Gatlinburg to see his son play in the tournament, but by personnel at LeConte Medical Center, where the 15-year-old was first taken for treatment.
Ultimately, the injured freshman was transferred to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, where, according to his mother, he had emergency surgery to repair damage to several internal organs and remove the tip of the pool cue.
The incident that left the freshman hospitalized was one of four similar attacks that occurred during the team's trip to Gatlinburg, according to the police report.
"The victim stated that the upper classmen had forced the freshmen on the varsity basketball team to be 'beat in' to the team," the arresting officer noted after speaking with the 15-year-old.
According to the police report, two other freshmen also had pool cues pressed against their rectums, but through their clothing. They declined to press charges, the report stated.
A fourth player, a 14-year-old freshman, told police that he was attacked with a pool cue in the same manner by two of his older teammates, the same players who, two days later, allegedly assaulted and raped the 15-year-old freshman.
"He stated that it was very painful but he did not suffer any serious injury," the police report noted, referring to the alleged attack on the 14-year-old player, who also agreed to press charges.
The two teens accused in that incident face simple assault charges.
The 15-year-old told police that he witnessed one attack on one of his freshman teammates and heard screams during a second attack, on the 14-year-old.
What remains unclear is how much the coaches, who were staying just one floor above, heard or knew of the alleged attacks.
On Wednesday afternoon, Nayadley's Chattanooga attorney, Lee Davis, filed a motion to dismiss the charges against his client. Davis said Nayadley, who has a 15-year-old son on the Ooltewah basketball team, had no knowledge of the alleged rape and assault.
"Without knowledge and a complaint, there is no duty to report," Davis wrote in his motion.
Davis told the court that when Nayadley learned of the incident, he immediately notified his principal, who in turn notified the superintendent's office. Davis added that if Nayadley is to be charged with failure to report, Hamilton County school officials should be, as well.
The judge denied Nayadley's motion and similar motions filed by attorneys for Williams and Montgomery.
Smith, the Hamilton County superintendent, has come under fire in recent days for his decision to allow the team to continue to play in the Gatlinburg tournament, despite the fact that he knew on Dec. 23 that three of the Ooltewah players were facing charges while another player was seriously injured. On Thursday night, Smith agreed to accept a buyout for the remainder of his contract, citing a desire to step aside so the school district can move on from a scandal that has dominated headlines locally in recent weeks. The board excepted Smith's proposal and will now negotiate terms.
Williams, Montgomery and Nayadley have been suspended without pay. If they ultimately plead guilty, they can be fined no more than $2,500. A not-guilty plea would send the case before a grand jury.