Southmoore Wrestler Charged in Sexual Assault Case

Just days after four Norman North High School wrestlers were arrested and charged with first degree rape by instrumentation for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old and 12-year-old teammate, a Southmoore High School wrestler has been arrested in a similar incident.

Earlier in the week, school officials announced that police were investigating incidents at two Moore schools: Central Junior High and Southmoore High School. In these cases, like in the Norman case, wrestlers were accused of harassing and assaulting fellow wrestlers--often younger wrestlers--by inserting a finger over the clothes into the alleged victim's rectum. 

The Moore incidents are alleged to have occurred on January 19, and on Thursday, the Southmoore student was charged in Cleveland County District Court. Connor Michael Bell, 17, is charged as a youthful offender with one count of first degree rape by instrumentation.

Bell allegedly told police that the act was a "common wrestling move," allegedly admitting to assaulting several wrestlers in this way, and saying the act had also been done to him. His coaches reportedly denied that the act is wrestling move they teach their students. Bell allegedly admitted to coaches that he might have taken things "too far."

A similar move, called the "butt drag," has been used in wrestling in the past, where one wrestler grabs the butt cheek of an opponent. However, anal penetration should not be involved, and in 2010, a 17-year-old California wrestler was charged with a sex crime for digitally penetrating the anus of a younger opponent during practice. That case brought to light discussion about the difference between common moves and sexual assault.

It appears to be a discussion that missed Oklahoma high schools, with at least five students at two schools facing rape charges and potential charges coming from a third metro school.

Parents never expect their child to be charged with a juvenile sex crime, and there is a high likelihood that the teens charged in these cases never thought of their acts as sexual assaults, but rather as horseplay. If your child is facing criminal charges after allegations of rape or sexual battery, contact an experienced Oklahoma criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

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