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Handling of alleged attempted rape disputed

By Greg Gelpi

A Clayton County mother and the Clayton County school system are at odds over the handling of attempted rape allegations.

Georgia Scott said that her juvenile daughter was nearly raped by Ronald Christopher Baker, 17, but the school system failed to act.

The school system investigated the allegation and disciplined Baker for molesting Scott's daughter.

Area 1 Superintendent Jackie Hubbert said Forest Park High School investigated the allegation, interviewing witnesses to corroborate the 14-year-old's story, in accordance with school policy.

She said that Babb Middle School Assistant Principal Derrick Thomas, the first school official to learn of the incident, also followed school policy. The alleged victim is a former student at Babb Middle, which is located adjacent to Forest Park High.

"He made his administrators aware, so he followed proper procedure," Hubbert said.

She was "pretty sure" that the Department of Family and Children Services was contacted about the incident as well.

According to Jerry Jackson, the school system's acting coordinator of community affairs, a student approached Thomas at a Babb basketball game and said a friend was raped.

"Thomas questioned the student about the allegation and she retracted the statement, saying she was only kidding," Jackson stated in an email. "The student did not report that she had been molested."

Thomas told other members of Babb's administration of the conversation Nov. 13.

"Thomas said that the student's conversation included unsolicited gossip and unsubstantiated information that he dismissed," Jackson said. "Since the information about the alleged rape incident was part of the conversation and later retracted, he dismissed that as well. Thomas observed the student during the conversation as having a lively, excited, spirited demeanor. She showed no signs of trauma or forlornness. Thomas, as the law requires, did not believe that he has reasonable cause to launch an investigation into the situation."

Thomas remains in his position as assistant principal of Babb Middle.

Reports said that Scott's 14-year-old daughter was molested by Baker in a coach's office at Forest Park High School during lunch Oct. 28. Scott filed a report with Forest Park police Nov. 24.

Scott's daughter told her about the alleged incident and said that her friend had actually been raped by Baker in mid-September, reports said.

The alleged rape occurred near a park close to where all of those involved lived.

Repeated phone calls to Georgia Scott seeking comment were not returned Wednesday.