A 16-year-old student at a Vermont private school was charged with felony sexual assault after five of his female classmates came forward to accuse him of forcing them to perform sexual acts on campus, BuzzFeed News reports. The students claimed, among other things, that Connor Tatro would trap them in spaces they couldn’t exit — such as the dugout of the campus baseball field — and use physical force to coerce them into performing the acts.
Tatro, who is being charged as an adult because of the severity of the alleged crimes, has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of felony sexual assault, according to BuzzFeed News. The abuse allegedly occurred between 2016 and 2017 on the campus of Thetford Academy, and detectives started an investigation into the alleged assaults after the girls reported them as a group to a school administrator. The assaults allegedly included groping and forced sexual intercourse, and happened in bathrooms, hallways, and even a wooded area near the campus.
“Each of the charges involved the allegation that the defendant approached a female acquaintance at school and coerced her into a sexual act without her consent. I’m sure that many are struggling to understand the nature of the allegations and what it all means,” Assistant Orange County State’s Attorney Dickson Corbett told the Valley News, per BuzzFeed News.
An affidavit shows the female students told investigators Tatro would physically assault them whenever they rejected his advances. One 15-year-old girl said Tatro choked her for refusing to perform oral sex on him, and that she eventually “went along with it” after he pulled her into a men’s bathroom because she was “scared of what he might do next.”
Some of the girls in the group told investigators that they had dated Tatro, but ended the relationships after he pressured them sexually. Another 15-year-old girl claimed he pinned her to a wall for refusing to have sex with him while they were dating. Later, after they got back together, Tatro allegedly threw her onto the ground and forced her to perform oral sex.
Tatro has reportedly been released into his mother’s custody, and he’s been banned from campus and ordered not to contact the girls. His public defender Catherine Dux told the Valley News, “These are some very, very serious allegations. But that is all they are.”