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Local News for Friday, July 16th

Here is your Cleveland, Tenn. | Bradley County, Tenn. news on mymix1041.com, sponsored by Toyota of Cleveland:

From WRCB Channel 3…

A man out of Polk County has spent the last couple of months celebrating his freedom. 

Quantavious Brown was behind bars for three years for a rape he maintained he did not commit.

The then 21-year-old, raised in Copperhill, hoped to pursue a degree in accounting and business management, but the promising future took a turn on August 3, 2018.

According to Brown’s attorney, he spent the night at a local bar with a woman he met two years prior through his then-girlfriend.

An affidavit states Brown and the woman got into an argument about a previous court case in which the two were involved.

The woman reportedly told Polk County Sheriff’s deputies that Brown forced his way into her apartment and raped her. Deputies noted injuries to her face and a scratch on her neck upon arriving at her home.

Brown, who lived down the street, was taken in for questioning and never left the Polk County Detention Center where he spent the next three years.

He was charged with Aggravated Burglary, Rape, and Retaliation of Past Action.

Brown eventually got a trial but it was delayed due to the pandemic and changed with legal counsel. His family also could not afford the $500,000 bond that was set.

Tim Hewitt was appointed as Brown’s third attorney.

Hewitt told Channel 3 the investigator he hired to work the case made a shocking discovery. The woman’s landlord and her son who lived in the same building and were home during the alleged rape had not been interviewed.

Hewitt told Channel 3 the landlord heard Brown and the woman having a quiet conversation when her boyfriend busted in.

Forensic reports showed no evidence of rape and the landlord also told investigators the woman’s injuries were not new.

After three years, a jury found Brown not guilty and made him a free man.

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press…

A family suing over the alleged sexual assault of a student at Cleveland Middle School is seeking $5 million more, claiming in a new complaint a grade-level principal trivialized the allegation at an assembly, after which children played a game of tag in which they would shout “sexual harassment!” when they were touched by classmates.

According to the original lawsuit filed Dec. 11 filed by attorneys J. Taylor Thomas and Russell L. Leonard, the girl was repeatedly sexually assaulted while school officials looked the other way and her parents were only told days later by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. The student’s identity is being shielded during the proceedings. 

The lawsuit sought $10 million. In an amended filing this month seeking $15 million, the plaintiff’s family now says a seventh-grade principal held a Zoom assembly April 19 — with the alleged victim in attendance — on the subject of sexual assault and harassment.

According to the filing in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga, the principal told students “even if you look the wrong way, you’d probably get sued” and “trivialized” such conduct as “bottom slaps” or “pats.”

The district and its administrators, represented by Knoxville attorney Jonathan Taylor, have 21 days from the date of filing to answer the new allegations.

Cleveland City Schools officials didn’t immediately respond to questions about the principal’s alleged comments to the students, whether such comments would be allowed under school policies and whether he is still employed at the school.

Also from the Chattanooga Times Free Press…

A Tennessee administrative law judge upheld the state’s decision to suspend the child care license of the Baptiste Group, which was operating a shelter in Chattanooga for unaccompanied migrant children.

In his decision, Phillip Hilliard wrote the safety and welfare of children required immediate action and the Baptiste Group failed to show it had eliminated the potential for other safety issues. The judge pointed out the recent allegations of child abuse at the shelter.

“The egregiousness of this type of conduct is irrefutable,” Hilliard said. “While all children are vulnerable, the unique circumstances under which unaccompanied minors find themselves (in a foreign country under the care of people they’ve never met) certainly makes them an especially vulnerable population.”

The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services suspended the Baptiste Group’s child care license on July 1 because of the allegation of abuse and a child that went missing from the facility. The Baptiste Group appealed the decision in a July 6 hearing, which the state declined to make public despite a request to do so from the Baptiste Group.