SAUK RAPIDS, Minn. -- Police are investigating after staff members at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School say they stopped a sexual assault in progress at the school.
Superintendent Greg Vandal says students reported the beginning of a sexual assault and staff immediately intervened to prevent it from escalating.
"We had a couple of students who thought what they saw was horseplay so they came to the office and said they thought something was going on," Vandal said.
Both the attacker and the victim are students. The assailant, a 16-year-old male was turned over to police and the victim, an 18-year-old female was checked out by a nurse and sent home to her parents.
The suspect has been charged as a juvenile with attempted criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and two counts of assault.
Vandal says an internal investigation has started and the school will cooperate fully with police. He says the school is offering the victim counseling.
Vandal says the quick response by students and staff helped protect someone who might have otherwise been seriously hurt.
"It is because of that student response that this is less serious than it might have been. This is serious but those students helped it become less so," Vandal said.
Sauk Rapids Police Chief Curt Gullickson says the suspect is being held in a juvenile correctional facility while the investigation proceeds.
Gullickson says the incident started about 3:15 p.m. Monday at a store in the school.
The school district in central Minnesota has sent letters home to parents. The letter is also posted on the district's Web site.
Click here to read the letter from the school.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)