High school football players face sex assault charges, coach out

ALTAMONT, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Grundy County High School football team will finish the last two games of the season, but the coach has been removed.

Officials said Casey Tate will continue to work as a special education teacher but is no longer connected to the school’s football team.

This comes in the wake of the arrest of five team members, accused of sexually assaulting another boy on the team.

The case has galvanized the rural community and a crowd of parents packed an emergency board of education meeting Monday evening.

“What did we not do that could have prevented this from happening again?” Mike Yates said.

The board announced creation of an oversight committee to “supervise all investigations and report directly to the Grundy County BOE to insure complete transparency.”

Earlier in the day, a Grundy County judge recused himself from the case. Judge William R. Anderson said he had represented the parents of one of the boys when he was a private attorney.

Another judge, possibly a judge from outside the county, will be appointed in time for a new hearing set for November 15.

Three of the five Grundy High School football players were arraigned Monday morning. One asked for more time to find an attorney, and the fifth boy asked for a public defender.

The teens are charged with attempted aggravated rape of a freshman player on the football team.

All five boys remain on house arrest and are getting home schooling.

Sheriff Clint Shrum said the investigation is open and active, and said they are looking into the possibility of more charges.

When asked whether the alleged incident may be related to hazing, the sheriff said, “This is not classified as hazing. This is being called attempted aggravated rape.”

Shrum also confirmed the boys should not have been at the field house on Wednesday at 5 a.m., when the victim claims the assault allegedly took place.

“If there had been supervision there, if the gate had been locked, if the building had been locked, those kids wouldn’t have been in that building,” Yates said.

“We do know they did not have approval to be at the field house at that hour,” the sheriff added.

An extra detail from the sheriff’s department was stationed outside the courthouse Monday morning. The sheriff said some supporters showed up, but there were no threats.