Alleged sex assault under investigation at Philadelphia high school

WEST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Students at Sayre High School in West Philadelphia say they're shocked and stunned over allegations of sexual assault inside their own school.

Police say they're paying close attention to surveillance video, which shows the moments before and after the alleged incident. They are also interviewing the two young people involved.

At this point, they have not determined if criminal charges will be filed.

Police and school officials say a 14-year-old freshman girl reported being sexually assaulted in a stairwell around 3:15 Friday afternoon, shortly after dismissal.

The alleged attacker is a freshman boy. He has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

Police said there are surveillance cameras both inside and outside the school, but none of them captured what allegedly happened in the stairwell - only what happened before and after.

School District of Philadelphia spokesman Fernando Gallard says, "There is surveillance of the two students in question walking down the hallway, exiting the building. That's what we provided to Philadelphia Police and that's what they are using for the investigation."

Students said the hallways are flooded in the moments after the last bell rings, but the building clears out fast.

The victim is being offered support, and there are school counselors and psychologists on hand for the rest of the student body.

Gallard says, "There is always support for students whenever there is any type of stress or any issue or if they feel stress about their school environment."

Investigators said on Tuesday that they can't tell from the video if the girl is being coerced into the stairwell.

A letter about the incident is expected to go home to parents.
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