Crime & Public Safety

Bluffton student charged with raping classmate during school hours, report says

What happens in a rape kit exam?

A sexual assault evidence kit contains forensic evidence gathered from a victim's body during an intrusive, hours-long examination. Testing kits can find DNA evidence used to identify rapists, boost prosecutions or exonerate the falsely accused.
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A sexual assault evidence kit contains forensic evidence gathered from a victim's body during an intrusive, hours-long examination. Testing kits can find DNA evidence used to identify rapists, boost prosecutions or exonerate the falsely accused.

A 17-year-old May River High School student was charged Saturday with raping a 15-year-old classmate in a bathroom during school hours at the end of last semester, according to the Bluffton Police Department.

Isaiah Cash faces a charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 16, the police report said.

The rape is alleged to have occurred at 2:30 p.m. on May 29. The girl and her mother reported the incident to police hours later, after she finished the school day and returned home, according to the report.

The victim told police Cash raped her in a bathroom stall, the report said.

Cash told police there was consensual sexual contact between him and the girl, but when he tried to initiate intercourse, she said she did not want to do that so they stopped, the report said.

Both students returned to class afterward.

Isaiah Donell Cash.jpg
Isaiah Donell Cash Beaufort County Detention Center

After additional investigation and interviews, Bluffton police charged Cash and booked him into the Beaufort County Detention Center on Saturday.

He was released Monday afternoon on a $10,000 surety bond, according to the jail log and Beaufort County court documents. His bond requirements also included a no-contact order with the victim and her family, according to the report.

Beaufort County School District spokesperson Jim Foster, citing Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), declined to say what grade level Cash was and whether he was allowed to complete the final two days of the school year.

Whenever there are allegations of an assault or incident on school grounds, the school takes statements from witnesses and the principal recommends disciplinary action within the school system’s jurisdiction, Foster said. If a crime has been alleged, law enforcement also conducts its own investigation.

Although the school and police investigations are separate, “it’s possible the results of a law enforcement investigation can affect the principal’s decision,” Foster said.

Students who commit a “forced sex offense,” which includes rape, could face up to 10 days out-of-school suspension along with a recommendation for expulsion or assignment to an alternative school, according to the Beaufort County School District’s student code of conduct.

Under S.C. law, those convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor can face up to 20 years imprisonment.

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Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
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