A Kansas military school cadet leader was arrested last week on allegations of sexual battery against a younger student at its Salina campus, the school's president said on Tuesday.
The unidentified 18-year-old was then suspended from St. John's Military School in Salina before arrangements were made for him to return home to Virginia, President Andy England said in an email to the Associated Press.
"Upon being made aware of the allegations, St. John's immediately initiated an investigation," England said. "Based upon preliminary information, we notified the Salina Police Department in order to have their investigation begun as soon as possible."
Salina police Lt. Scott Siemsen told reporters that the victim was under the age of 18, but declined to detail further specifics in the case. He did add that sexual battery in Kansas generally involves unwanted touching or other inappropriate contact for the purposes of sexual gratification. The cadet was not raped, he said.
This is apparently not the first time the 18-year-old cadet has been in trouble with authorities. The Associated Press reports on a previous incident last November involving the same 18-year-old cadet in which a 15-year-old cadet was arrested on allegations of aggravated assault and criminal use of a weapon after a verbal altercation with the older cadet leader.
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The Salina Journal reported at the time that the younger cadet had allegedly threatened the cadet leader when he was ordered to fall into formation. The younger boy was reaching into his pocket — which police say held a broken pair of garden shears — when he was restrained by the older cadet and an adult employee.
The recent allegations come in the midst of a federal lawsuit against St. John’s filed by 11 former cadets and their families against the boarding school in which students contend the school's quasi-military cadet program encourages physical and mental abuse. The plaintiffs — who hail from California, Florida, Tennessee, Colorado, Texas and Illinois — filed the lawsuit in March, according to the Associated Press.
St. John's has denied to numerous media outlets that a culture of abuse exists at the school and has vowed to fight the lawsuit. The arrest is not part of that ongoing lawsuit.