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Update on sexual assault investigation

No clear suspect identified, investigation continuing

   Several details have emerged concerning the investigation that is centered at Pickens Middle School after a student says he was sexually assaulted in a bathroom there last week.

   In an interview with an Atlanta television station, the father of the student, whose name nor face was shown, indicated the son was in special education.

   Neither investigators nor the schools have confirmed any information about the identity of the student. But sources close to the case have acknowledged it has been very complicated compiling a sequence of events based on statements from the student.

   The victim has been to two forensic interviews to narrow down when and where the assault took place. Forensic interviews are conducted by specialists when the victims are either juveniles or have mental issues.

   Lt. Kris Stancil said Thursday that the sheriff office and schools have both poured all their resources into this investigation and they are drawing from additional resources of the GBI.


Bluegrass championship back at Marble Festival


Sign up now to compete in Georgia State Bluegrass Championship


$1,000 to best band, $250 prize in individual categories









              In the world of bluegrass, few groups are better known or more widely respected than The Lonesome River Band.


             After their positive experience last year, the award-winning ensemble will again headline the 2nd annual Georgia State Bluegrass Championship, the newest and most exiting addition to the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce’s Georgia Marble Festival, held every October at Lee Newton Park in Jasper, Ga.  


While a treat in itself, the Lonesome River Band is just the icing on the cake for the championship, which will bring competition in five categories including fiddle, mandolin, flat-picking guitar, bluegrass banjo, and bluegrass band. Prizes should get any musician tuned up with $1,000 going to best band and $250 to winners in each individual contest.


Organizers are inviting bluegrass players of all ages to sign up for their chance to win big prize money and the title of Georgia State Bluegrass Champion. 


For musicians interested in competing, entry application, competition schedule and rules for the Georgia State Bluegrass Competition can be found at For more information about the 33rd annual Georgia Marble Festival, hosted by the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce, visit or find “Georgia Bluegrass Championship” on Facebook for frequent updates and news about the competition.


            You can visit the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce at or contact them at 706-692-5600.


The Georgia State Bluegrass Championship will be held that Saturday, Oct. 5, and Sunday, Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days, with the Lonesome River Band headlining at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday evening.


Festival-goers can enjoy two days of bluegrass competition as well as the numerous other events and activities going on that weekend, including arts, crafts & food vendors, marble quarry tours, signature merchant booths, a children’s area, parade, bike ride, beauty pageant and much more.


Georgia Marble Festival organizers are granting admission to the LRB performance for the cost of entry into the festival, just $5 a head for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. Children under 5 are free. Parking is also free and family weekend passes are available for $20. Veterans are $3.










Forensic audit questions aired in public comments


     Following the August 28 Grand Jury recommendations that called for a forensic audit of county finances from 2005 to the present, county commissioners were faced with questions and concerns from residents at their most recent meeting Thursday, Sept. 19.
     Pickens resident Gary Copeland, who has been vocal about cutting waste from the county budget after a proposed tax increase last year, said despite being fiscally conservative he wants to see the county pony up funding for a forensic audit “and put this to rest,” he said.

     See this week's print or online editions for the rest of this story.


Schools issue statement on sexual assault investigation


   This morning Pickens School Superintendent Lula Mae Perry issued a statement concerning the investigation of a possible sexual assault at Pickens Middle School, first reported yesterday.

   Parents of PCMS students were notified by a letter about the possibility of an assault that may have occurred on campus last week. The letter was sent home with students yesterday. The letter was distributed near the end of the school day.


   Perry’s release stated, “At this time, we do not know if the alleged assault occurred on or off campus as there is still an active and ongoing investigation,” she stated in the e-mail sent  Wednesday morning.


   The e-mail stated the school personnel will not comment further due to the ongoing investigation.


   “If it is determined that this assault occurred on campus, I promise you the school district will work with Sheriff Donnie Craig and the GBI to understand how and why this could happen,” Perry stated in the e-mail.

   Perry stated that until they understand the situation better, the teachers and school resource officers may seem “overprotective.” She asked parents to bear with them during this difficult time and they appreciate the support and understanding.


Possible school sexual assault being investigated


A letter went home to parents Tuesday from the school Superintendent saying that school officials were notified by the county sheriff’s office that a student at Pickens County Middle School may have been sexually assaulted by another student last Thursday, Sept. 19th.