By MIKE SEALS
No criminal investigation will be conducted after a reported sexual assault at Garfield Elementary School on Tuesday.
Ponca City Police Captain Randy Tyner, Patrol Division Commander, released the following statement regarding the incident: “On Dec. 3, the Ponca City Police Department was made aware of an incident at Garfield Elementary School where a 6-year-old child was alleged to have inappropriately touched a 5-year-old child.”
“An officer was assigned to investigate, and spoke to the school staff about the incident, and then spoke to the father of the 5-year-old child. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services was also notified and is investigating.”
“The Ponca City Police Department will assist OKDHS with the investigation, but Oklahoma State Law specifically precludes a child under 7 years of age from being charged with a criminal act (Oklahoma Statute Title 21, Chapter 3, subsection 152), so it will not be a criminal investigation.”
Wednesday afternoon, the The Ponca City School District issued the following statement: “The safety and well-being of our students is the top priority of the Ponca City Public School District. There was an incident at Garfield Elementary on Tuesday, Dec. 3. An immediate and thorough investigation was conducted, and multiple agencies were notified and are involved. Parents of all parties involved were notified and informed of the situation. The district cannot provide specific details, but swift action was taken in order to protect every student. The safety of our students will continue to be the top focus each and every day.”
The News has confirmed that the ‘multiple agencies’ referenced in the statement include the Ponca City Police Department, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Daysprings Community Services.
Dayspring Community Services, part of the Preferred Family Healthcare system, operates behavioral health clinics offering a variety of services with professional staff in schools.
PCPS also confirmed that the incident occurred during the kindergarten afternoon recess. At the time of the incident, the two kindergarten classes and the teachers of both classes were on the playground.
“Our students do not go on the playground without supervision,” stressed Mary Ladd, PCPS Public Information Coordinator for PCPS in an email to The News. “The teachers responded as soon as the incident happened,” she concluded.
The parents of the 5-year-old girl said on Facebook and on a televised report, in graphic detail, that their daughter was physically and sexually assaulted by the boy on the school grounds during the recess. They also strenuously complained about the treatment the father received at the school, when he arrived about 10 minutes before the end of the day to pick up his daughter, and at the school administration offices when he went to complain.