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This story in The Times has prompted an avalanche of responses (about which more later). The basic story is that four Eton boys have been suspended and are under internal investigation for sexual assault and theft from a girl from near to the school.

Speaking on behalf of the school the following have been said:

There has been a disciplinary matter that is being investigated and a number of boys have been suspended. I do not want to comment on or give further details about this incident as we are in the process of carrying out a full and exhaustive investigation. There is a lot here that needs to be unravelled. It will take at least a week to complete and it is likely that we will not have a development until after the Easter holidays. In the meantime the boys remain suspended.” Anthony Little, Headteacher

pupils have been asked to come forward with any information they have about what happened because the school is desperate to deal with this internally. Apparently the girl was attacked and robbed of her handbag by a group of older pupils who were in South Meadow. There has been talk that she might have been sexually assaulted, although I am not sure if this is true or not. The talk is that one or two of her ribs were broken in the incident, although that might have happened as she tried to prevent them stealing her handbag. The girl had nothing to do with the college and we are not sure why she was in the grounds. The rumours are also quite strong that the boys had been drinking and might also have taken drugs. We know that at least four boys have been suspended from the college and a disciplinary hearing is to be held. A housemaster of one of the suspended boys has appealed to the rest of his boarders to come forward with information because he wants to be able to support his pupil. Unnamed Staff Member

From The Times

What grabbed my attention was the comments. This is a quick overview:

Sophie from London: I think you should all know most allegations are false or have been exaggerated.

Des from Edinburgh: The allegations could be entirely false. It would be wrong to confuse a spot of high jinx on the part of a few young gentlemen with a sexual assault.

Charlotte from London: Girls nowadays unfortunately use the allegation for sexual attacks very lightly and in this situation there is no evidence to suggest the latter actually occurred…

Louise from London: Obviously assault is a traumatic experience for the girl involved …this fairly minor incident…

Freddy from London: None of these allegations have even come close to being proven

Now I am not saying there aren’t voices calling for a proper Police investigation in the comments. But most of them are doing so on the basis of protecting the boys’ reputations. I’m pretty disgusted….