UPDATE: Family accuses officials of ignoring New Hampton school - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Family accuses officials of ignoring New Hampton school rape

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New Hampton High School New Hampton High School
NEW HAMPTON (KWWL) -

An eastern Iowa school district and police department are getting some criticism after a family, through its attorney, told KWWL the two are ignoring their daughter's rape that happened March 24.

New Hampton Police Chief Mike Anderson confirmed the police department is investigating an allegation of sexual assault that happened at approximately 2:30 p.m. on March 24 at New Hampton High School.

Anderson would not let KWWL see the police report, but confirmed they were investigating a report of a teenage boy who dragged a 17-year-old girl into a boys' locker room and raped her.

He said they don't have a whole lot of information about what happened.

Anderson confirmed a rape kit was completed and said the New Hampton Police Department delivered it to the crime lab in Ankeny.

Alex Murphy, Information Specialist in the Commissioner's Office with the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS), said Tuesday they received the rape kit evidence, but he would not comment about when it would be completed.

According to Murphy, it depends on the evidence submitted, and sometimes there are different priorities for different items.

Paul Bush, DNA Section Supervisor for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, which processes the kits, said they are aware of the case. He said for juvenile cases, results must be completed with 60 days. He also said at any given times, his lab faces a backlog of about 80 cases.

"Everybody wants DNA testing done on lots of different items, so as a result we're getting lots of submissions on many types of different cases," Bush said. "And that adds to the fact that DNA testing is a very complex and time consuming process."

Bush said in some cases, they will rush their results at the request of the County Attorney. Chickasaw County Attorney Patrick Wegman would not comment.

Anderson said the allegation of sexual assault isn't what he calls a "rushed case" because both the victim and her accused offender are juveniles.

Detective Dave MacDonald, with the Bremer County Sheriff's Office, said in his experience, most rape kits are processed quickly. He said in the meantime though, he often looks for other options for victims, including counseling, or possible no-contact orders.

"We take our victims pretty seriously," he said.

He said those decisions come on a case by case basis, but they do try to remove reported victims from bad situations as quickly as possible.

KWWL reached out to New Hampton Community Schools Superintendent Jay Jurrens.

In a phone call, Jurrens said he can't talk about "student issues," and "can't confirm or deny whether it happened."

He said the school district's legal counsel advised him not to talk or offer comments to the media.

Jurrens said there is one teacher for every 11 students at the school.

He said if students need to leave a class to use the restroom or get a drink, they need to check with their instructor.

According to Jurrens, an instructor uses his/her discretion to determine whether a student has been gone for an extended amount of time.

KWWL's Michael Crowe contributed to this report.

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