Special Prosecutor Matt Ballard filed charges Thursday against four former football players in the Bixby High School rape investigation and said “several” adults are still under investigation.
Charged as youthful offenders in Tulsa County District Court are Colten Cable, 17; Samuel Isaiah Lakin, 17; William Henry Thomas, 17; and Joe Wood, 16. Each boy faces one count of second-degree rape by instrumentation.
The prosecutor’s office did not rule out additional charges being filed in the case.
“Aside from the charges filed today, there is an ongoing investigation into possible actions by several adults related to the potential crimes,” said Ballard’s spokeswoman, Michelle Lowry.
Longtime Superintendent Kyle Wood, Joe Wood’s father, was forced out of Bixby Public Schools in a resignation agreement with the local school board on Dec. 19, nearly three months after a 16-year-old student said he was raped with a pool cue for the second time by his high school football teammates at a team event hosted at the Woods residence.
An affidavit filed Thursday in Tulsa County District Court by an OSBI investigator states that the attack occurred after a Sept. 27 offensive line dinner in Joe Wood’s upstairs bedroom, where some of the players were gathered to play video games.
Lakin reportedly barred the victim from leaving the door and then he and Cable, Thomas and Wood “dog piled” the victim, who was their teammate.
“The victim described being held face up by Lakin, while Joe Wood and Thomas forced the victim’s legs backward toward the victim’s chest, leaving the victim defenseless while the pool stick was forced into the victim’s anus,” the OSBI investigator’s affidavit states.
While the victim reported being “unable to see everything going on during the assault,” he heard one of his attackers call out, “The deeper it goes, the louder he screams.”
Another teammate reportedly video-recorded the attack on his cell phone.
In January, Oklahoma’s multicounty grand jury took up the case. After a host of witnesses with ties to the Bixby case were seen arriving to testify before the grand jury and then leaving two to three hours later, the grand jury reported that it needed more time to summon witnesses and for investigators to gather more evidence in the case.
Asked about the status of that investigation, Lowry, in the special prosecutor’s office, responded, “Anything grand jury is secret and we can’t comment on that.”
Previous public records in the case indicated that the victim had reported being similarly attacked by his teammates on an undisclosed date in 2016 at a team function at the superintendent’s house. According to Thursday’s court filing, Thomas “advised investigators” that was the case, “but Thomas could not remember who pulled the victim off the bed or who handled the pool stick.”
Still at issue in the case is the question of what Bixby Public Schools officials knew and whether they reported those allegations to state social services soon enough.
Previous court documents have revealed that in addition to the 2016 and 2017 rape allegations, law enforcement have been looking into “indications of a ‘cover-up.’ ”
“It is unclear when school officials reported this sexual assault of a child to the authorities, although it was certainly delayed for days,” a law enforcement officer wrote in a November search warrant affidavit. “It certainly appears that any reporting of the incident was significant and has caused difficulty in the investigation, especially including the inability to preserve evidence. It also appears that there may have been some initial effort by one or others to not report the incident at all.”
Law enforcement officials reported to the court that the only record DHS had of the child sex assault was received the morning of Nov. 10, just hours after the Bixby school board announced its own internal investigation and the Tulsa World exclusively covered that news.
“In my opinion, it is relevant that much of the media coverage regarding this incident began on the evening of Nov. 9,” the investigator wrote in the search warrant affidavit.
Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation initially told the Tulsa World that a handful of Bixby High School football players were kicked off the team in late October for the remainder of the season amid the allegations. Then, right before Bixby played in the state championship football game on Dec. 2, another handful of players was benched.
Some of the charged have kept up with their college football recruiting efforts.
Cable posted on Twitter on Jan. 27 photos of himself at Oklahoma State University and “Had a great time at OSU Jr. Day!!” On Oct. 22, he made a similar post on another trip, writing, “Had a great visit to Arkansas.”