TAMPA — Four juveniles accused of sexually battering a 13-year-old classmate at Walker Middle School were released Tuesday from home detention and electronic monitoring.
Deputies arrested the teens — Lee Louis Myers, 14, Raymond A. Price-Murray, 14, Randall John Moye, 14, and Diemante J. Roberts, 15 — on May 6, eight days after the alleged attack with a broom handle and a hockey stick in a locker room.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge Christopher Sabella said he had no choice but to release them, noting that adult charges have not been filed. He warned them to stay away from the victim.
"That part of my order will remain in effect," Sabella said. "You won't be required to stay in your house, but that might be a good idea."
All of the teens except Myers appeared in court. Myers' attorney said he didn't think the boy needed to attend the hearing. The boys' parents and attorneys offered no comment.
Earlier this month, Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi said prosecutors would charge the four as adults. But Tuesday, Assistant State Attorney Kimberly Hindman told the judge the state is still investigating "forensic evidence" and has made no determination about adult charges.
After the hearing, prosecutors declined to describe the nature of that evidence.
The Hillsborough Sheriff's Office initially arrested the teens as juveniles on charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment.
Sabella delayed Tuesday's scheduled arraignment until June 9, so that the court might know the status of adult charges before proceeding in the juvenile matter.
Meanwhile, the teens aren't allowed to return to Walker Middle, said school district spokesman Stephen Hegarty.
"They're not going back," he said. He did not disclose where the students might be enrolled, citing privacy laws.
In cases like this, Hegarty said, district officials typically suspend students for 10 days and schedule a change-of-placement hearing, which would have happened by now.
Options available to the students would have included homeschooling, private school or alternative school, Hegarty said.
The victim's father seemed surprised to learn of the day's developments. "They are free?" he asked. He pursed his lips and declined further comment.
Times staff writer Dong-Phuong Nguyen contributed to this report. Kevin Graham can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3433.