INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Principal Christopher Smith should have reported a rape within Muncie Central High School, the Indiana Supreme Court said in an opinion Thursday.
Smith had been convicted of a Class B misdemeanor for failing to immediately report a child may be the victim of abuse or neglect. The Indiana Court of Appeals, in a split decision, reversed that conviction. But on Thursday, the Indiana Supreme Court, also in a split opinion, agreed with the original trial court that convicted Smith.
In the opinion, the court said Smith failed to protect the student.
“Whether this failure was out of ignorance, a desire to protect the reputation of the perpetrator, or perhaps a wish to keep his school from receiving negative publicity on his watch is not clear,” the court wrote.
The court’s opinion said Smith should have contact law enforcement or the Indiana Department of Child Services.
Two of the justices dissented, saying state statue makes it unclear whether a rape involving two children would constitute “child abuse,” which is what Smith was convicted of not reporting.