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Adult charge dismissed, juvenile charge filed against Dietrich assault case teen

Posted at 1:23 PM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 19:53:26-04

A judge has dismissed an adult charge against one of the three teenagers involved in an alleged sexual assault against a disabled Dietrich High School student.

The move to dismiss the adult felony charge of forcible penetration by use of foreign object against Tanner Ward, 17, occurred at pretrial hearing on Tuesday.

After the charge was dismissed, Idaho Attorney General spokesman Todd Dvorak told 6 On Your Side that a petition was filed Tuesday against Ward in juvenile court. But, given that juvenile records are sealed, he could not go into detail about the juvenile charge or charges Ward is now facing.

“It is the policy of this office not to comment on pending cases,” Dvorak said. “I also cannot discuss why the decision was made (to file in juvenile court)."

A source tells 6 On Your Side that the refiling of a juvenile charge may have been prompted by a possible plea agreement with Ward. “I cannot comment on that, either,” Dvorak said.

Eighteen-year-old John R.K. Howard, who is being charged as an adult in the case, has an arraignment scheduled for September 6th in Gooding County.

Both Ward, Tanner and a 15-year-old unidentified boy allegedly used a coat hanger to rape an 18-year-old disabled African American student.

The adopted parents of the boy have filed a $10 million civil suit against the Dietrich School District.  The families lawyers claim the assault was the culmination of months racial discrimination and bullying.

Charges were initially filed against the three boys in March by Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.