Updated: Thursday, 06 Jan 2011, 10:44 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 06 Jan 2011, 9:21 PM EST
CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) - For months I-Team 8 has investigated the Carmel High School assault case. And there's one piece of evidence neither police nor prosecutors will release — the video. Yesterday, the father of one of the defendants said that video is key to the case. And surprisingly, the victim's lawyer agrees.
On Wednesday, the father of defendant Brandon Hoge and the family's attorney held a news conference claiming Hoge did not sexually assault a freshman student on a school bus. The claims came moments after Hoge pleaded guilty to lesser charges. 24-Hour News 8 asked Hoge's attorney, Jim Crum, whether he believes the victim lied.
"I'm going to say it certainly appears that is the case," Crum replied.
Thursday, the victim's attorney, Robert Turner fired back, saying the defendants have been calling his client a liar for months. He issued a 3-page written statement .
"They've been doing that from the beginning. From the beginning the victim was victimized again," said Turner.
But now the war of words is deafening — salvos sent sailing over television airwaves. Craig Hoge, Brandon Hoge's father, says a key piece of evidence exonerates his son — the video recorded inside the bus where the alleged attack took place.
"People are going to see this video and they're going to say, ‘Seriously, this is what this thing has been about for 11 months?’ It is nothing but a bunch of kids laughing and horsing around," Craig Hoge said.
"The videotape has been something that in our opinion has been manipulated. We believe it's been erased. A critical part of it has been erased. That's why they concealed it for so long," said Turner, the victim's attorney.
Turner points to a document from a Department of Child Services interviewer. In it, she indicates Carmel police detective Greg Dawson confirmed that, "Brandon Hoge is seen in the video sticking his fingers inside the victim's buttocks."
"The investigator from Carmel who originally said in the Child Protective Services report says he saw the attack on the video, then filed a report saying that he didn't see it. And then all of sudden, the video has a gap in it," said Turner.
Turner believes the video was doctored.
"The time stamp in the video indicates there's something missing," said Turner.
Hoge strongly disagrees, and says the investigative agencies who have viewed the tape do as well.
"This video was looked at exhaustively by the Fishers police and by the Indiana State Police. And it was verified by both that there was absolutely no human intervention or no messing or altering of this tape," said Craig Hoge.
24-Hour News 8 asked Hendricks County Prosecutor Patricia Baldwin about a possible gap in the tape. In an e-mail she wrote, "The missing time is due to the minutes in question being overwritten by the computer. It is not the result of any tampering."
24-Hour News 8 left a voicemail for the Carmel detective who allegedly saw the attack on the video, then changed his story. He didn’t return the call.