Lake Howell rape investigation: Mother, victim not cooperating, police say

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — DeLand police told Eyewitness News that they're conducting an investigation into rape allegations involving Lake Howell High School football players. But, they told Channel 9's Cierra Putman the accused victim and the mother are unwilling to cooperate.

Eyewitness News reported Friday the allegations involve a 14-year-old football player and an upperclassman while the players were at a private football camp with Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Stetson University last month.

An anonymous caller reported to the state's abuse hotline the teen was raped on July 27.

Investigators with the DeLand Police Department and one with Seminole County Child Protective Services have not interviewed the victim because his mother does not want to cooperate.

A victim’s advocate told Putman that it’s not uncommon for sexual assault victims to not cooperate and want to leave police out of it.

"It does not mean that the crime didn't occur," said Natasha Llorens, a victim advocate for the Victim Service Center of Central Florida. 

The organization helps sexual assault victims in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.

Llorens said her organization doesn’t push a victim to speak to police, because it's that person's choice.

"It's going to be all on the decision of the victim who lost that control and power at that time of the victimization," she said.

Llorens said there are a lot of emotions that could prevent a victim from speaking out. The fact that this victim is a teenage boy may also play a role.

"Sometimes, males can feel a little more intimidated, a little bit more embarrassed or ashamed. So there definitely is still a stigma there,” Llorens said.

A spokesperson for the school district said the Lake Howell football team will carry on as it normally would until the criminal investigation is done.

If the victim does not cooperate, that could tie the district's hands when it comes to possible discipline.