Few Details Released In Sex Assault

WHEELING – Police are releasing few details about their investigation of a Wheeling Park High School student’s alleged sexual assault of a classmate Thursday at the school after students had been dismissed.

The crime allegedly occurred around 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the high school, “in a building that was off-limits to students,” according to police. The students were acquainted with each other prior to the incident, police noted.

Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger declined to release the ages of the alleged victim or the accused, saying he did not want to divulge any information that may identify the alleged victim or the suspect.

The alleged victim told some fellow students about the crime. Those students reported it to school administrators, who subsequently contacted police.

The accuser was examined at Wheeling Hospital and released. Investigators collected physical evidence from the medical examination, Schwertfeger noted.

Police interviewed the alleged victim first at the high school, then again at the hospital, Schwertfeger said. They also interviewed witnesses at the school.

Detectives made multiple attempts to contact the suspect, Schwertfeger said, but did not comment on what the accused may or may not have said.

The police chief also stressed that this alleged interaction occurred between two students, and there is no concern that dangerous individuals may be entering the schools unauthorized and stalking the hallways.

“There is certainly no need for a student, or anyone else, to be in fear at Wheeling Park High School or any other Ohio County school,” he said. “This is not a situation where there is a stranger walking around the hallways.”

The investigation is ongoing, and it will be up to the Ohio County Prosecutor’s Office to decide whether to issue charges, Schwertfeger said.

Ohio County Schools Superintendent Dianna Vargo said she met with Schwertfeger Friday morning to discuss the allegation. She reiterated that school officials are working with the police department to investigate the assault.