The Supreme Court has turned down review for a Texas high school cheerleader who was kicked off the squad for refusing to chant the name of a basketball player that she said raped her four months earlier. Officials at Silsbee High School threw her off the team for not cheering for Rakheem Bolton, a star on the Silsbee High School football team.
The Fifth Circuit turned down the cheerleader’s free speech claim –stating that “[i]n her capacity as cheerleader, [she] served as a mouthpiece through which the school could disseminate speech–namely, support for its athletic teams.” The Supreme Court refused to review the decision below.
The girl identified as H.S. was 16 when she said Bolton raped her at a party. Bolton however only received a misdemeanor assault charge and was given a suspended sentence. That seems like a pretty light sentence, but the prosecutors insisted that the victim agreed with the result.
Putting aside the question of whether the girl had a first amendment claim (which is debatable), there remains the positively horrid decision of the district superintendent, his assistant and the school principal who ordered her to cheer her alleged rapist. They then tossed her from the squad. It is incomprehensible to me that three adults — let alone educators — would take such a draconian and thoughtless position.
What is particularly disturbing is an order from the federal court for H.S. and her parents to reimburse the district more than $45,000 for the costs of defending against a frivolous suit. Once again, it is incredible that the district has even demanded such costs. I have been a long credit of these cost shifting decisions as in the recent Westboro case.
Christian Paul Rountree (on right with Barlow on left), 20, and a 16 year old football player were also accused of a second degree felony charge of sexual assault of a cheerleader in 2008. However, the initial grand jury returned a no bill on the charges and then the prosecutor was replaced after being sued by the family. The family sued sued District Attorney David Sheffield, Silsbee Independent School District, Superintendent Richard Bain Jr., Principal Gail Lokey and cheerleading coach Sissy McInnis.
The special prosecutor then secured charges against Rountree as well as Bolton. Accounts stated that the girl was forced into a room by the three players and raped. It is hard to see how such a claim ends up in a plea for a misdemeanor.
Here is the Fifth Circuit ruling: 09-41075.0.wpd
Source: SF Gate
49 thoughts on “Rape Victim Told To Cheer Alleged Rapist: Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal of Texas Cheerleader”
SL: I hope that when this POS bill gets to the President’s desk he vetoes it.
I received a press release from NARAL Pro-Choice … to expound upon your point re: government intrusion – it also imposes tax penalties on employers and individuals whose private insurance policies cover abortion … meaning, the IRS can do “abortion audits.”
I have read the 5th Circuit’s decision and it is probably correct. The court affirmed the dismissal of a number of Section 1983 claims. There are still state law claims which can be pursued in the state courts. But the First Amendment claim was a real stretch.
Having said that, I strongly disagree that there was anything legally frivolous about the case. Two of the court’s conclusions, for example, were on points which are certainly justiciable and substantive. One is whether psychological injury in the absence of physical harm may constitute a violation of bodily integrity under the 14th Amendment. The second is whether freedom from false stigmatization is a property interest protected under the 14th Amendment. The court said no, but perfectly rational arguments can be made in support of either position. Therefore, the imposition of costs as a sanction in this instance is highly improper in my opinion.
The actions of the school district are reprehensible, but there is as yet no recognized cause of action for damages resulting from stupid and insensitive bureaucrats.
I do not believe that the case has anything to do with race, but it has a great deal to do with the privileged existence enjoyed by big athletes in small Texas towns.
Here is another story about the continuing War on Women by the radical right. Seems quite a contradiction and hypocrisy to have this level of intrusion on privacy and personal decision making. This is the same crew who rants against government intrusion into their lives. Why do they hate women?
You have no idea what it is like to go to court with an extremely close relative and sit through one of these trials with your relative being the victim,and have their accuser go free.
The accused plead guilty to assault. He admitted he attacked the victim. That is not in dispute. For Moar to suggest that because it wasn’t called ‘rape’ that the girl should be expected to cheer for her self confessed attacker make no sense.
That the school would expect the victim to cheer for her attacker seems to me the real issue. If the assault case was ongoing, the school would at least have grounds to say that she must cheer or leave the team, as ridiculous as that would be. As it stands, the girl is a victim, by admission of the attacker. The school demanded she cheer for her convicted attacker. That anyone can see that as defensible is mind boggling.
And the only person that injected race into this seems to be Moar. The accused plead guilty and received punishment. Is it somehow racist that he plead guilty? Or are you saying that the only reason he was accused of this crime was because of race? If so, what evidence do you have, or are you just going by the skin color of the accused?
Gingerbaker already said it. This is Texas. This is how Texas treats women who claim they have been raped.
“I stand by my earlier statement. The tone of this story makes it appropriate for VNN or Stormfront. The only difference?
The commentors seem to be a bit more polite. But racism is racism no matter how polite you are.”
Racism?? Did I miss something? I fail to see where you got this from …
And I stand by mine as well … rather hyperbolic statement ..
The school has behaved with admirable restraint, I think.
“The special prosecutor then secured charges against Rountree as well as Bolton. Accounts stated that the girl was forced into a room by the three players and raped. It is hard to see how such a claim ends up in a plea for a misdemeanor.”
Unless the accused were railroaded by overzealous, racist prosecutors, and in reality are wholly innocent of the charges, but that doesn’t seem to be a thought that has occurred to a single poster, or to Mr. Turley, or to the writers over at SF Gate.
And I have a pretty good idea of why. Pictures of the accused have been in every news story that has covered this travesty, and they’ve been put there to deliberately inflame the debate.
I stand by my earlier statement. The tone of this story makes it appropriate for VNN or Stormfront. The only difference?
The commentors seem to be a bit more polite. But racism is racism no matter how polite you are.
Well, you have to remember this is Texas. And this is *football* in Texas.
Rednecked Justice…..make the girl look bad…it is after all Football….
Confusion was served.
Do you simply have no empathy?
Regardless of the merits of the girl’s lawsuit, the school has behaved atrociously and its officials should be shamed and voted out of power as soon as possible.
One never ceases to be amazed at the tone deafness of school administrators across the country. And in court, they tend to get home cookin’ justice. This is a travesty. I hope the parents do not drop it, because I think assessing costs is adding insult to injury. I was recently involved in a recall election for three of our five school board members who behaved in an inappropriate manner toward the school administration, students and parents. The recall was successful. The puppet admiinistrator they installed was found to have misappropriated funds and was fired, and things went more or less back to normal.
It is not until parents, students and the community get behind recall efforts against the school officials who act like this, it will continue.
BTW, in our recall it took a 2/3 majority vote to recall a sitting school board member. I was told they were seen having a celebratory party in a local restaurant, because the 2/3 majority is a high bar. When the returns came in and more than 80% of the voters rejected them, the party got very quiet and some very sour faces went home suddenly. May that happen in more communities.
I agree with the good professor – the actions exhibited by school officials were insensitive, thoughtless and down-right nasty. Seems sensitivity training should be in order …
“It’s more suitable for VNN or Stormfront than the blog of a repsectable jurist.”
Rather hyperbolic, The Moar You Don’t Know …
I’m not seeing any conviction for rape here.
Therefore, if the parents are suing the high school for “forcing” (no one is forced to be a cheerleader) her to cheer for her non-rapist, I damn well think they ought to have to pay all court costs for filing such a frivolous lawsuit.
Professor, you ought to be ashamed of the manner in which you’ve reported this story. It’s more suitable for VNN or Stormfront than the blog of a repsectable jurist.
This is Silsbee after all…..
I do not blame her….
Is this person a Footballer or BBall?
I’m quite certain that many aren’t…
It is cases like this that makes me wonder if it a test to see if we are paying attention.
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