5 South Haven High School students charged, accused of raping girl

South Haven students facing rape charges

SOUTH HAVEN, MICH. - Five felony warrants against several South Haven High School students have been issued following allegations of rape.

Six young men, all of whom are legal adults, and a minor female are at the center of an investigation involving alleged sexual acts, according to a South Haven Police Department news release. The five that are charged are students along with the female victim.

The suspects are: DaMari Palmer, 18; DeShaan Palmer, 18; Cameron Watkins, 17; Darion Gist-Lewis, 18; and Caskadara Smith, 17, according to South Haven Police Chief Natalie Thompson.

Police say they learned of the allegations last week.

School officials then were bought in for discussion, and police began speaking with the alleged victim and her parents, the release states. A detective later met and talked with each of the men at the school "since it was important to reach [them] at proximally the same time."

Evidence was turned over Monday, Feb. 27, to the Van Buren County Prosecutor's Office, which issued five warrants for alleged criminal sexual conduct in the third degree -- a 15-year sentence if convicted. Each man turned themselves into court, where they were arraigned and released on $1,000 bond.

“Our thoughts are with the families of all those involved in this alleged matter," Thompson said in the release.

"While the law may see some of them as adults, we understand that they are teenagers. We are concerned for the well-being of all those involved," says Thompson. "As a police department, we will continue to work with the school and with the prosecutor to ensure that justices will be done in this matter."

The men are slated to be in court March 8. 

"These are young people who have futures ahead of them and it's just very sad," says Thompson.

© 2017 WZZM-TV


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