Protesters at Calhoun high

CALHOUN – A group of protesters stood along a sidewalk near Calhoun High School on Saturday to raise awareness of an ongoing rape investigation in Gilmer County that they say involves some CHS students.

Authorities indicated late last week that an alleged rape of a Calhoun woman was linked to a prom after-party in Gilmer County on May 10.

As many as 25 males ages 18-20, some from Calhoun and one from Whitfield County, are considered suspects in the investigation.

Law enforcement officials have not released the names of any suspects, nor have they confirmed that any of them are Calhoun High students.

Calhoun City Schools Superintendent Michelle Taylor said the issue is not a school-related matter and referred questions about specifics to the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office.

“We don’t want this to be swept under the rug,” said Tiffany Barringer, a parent of a CHS student, and one of about seven protesters Saturday. A bigger crowd protested Friday.

“We want justice to be done,” Barringer said. “We’re here in support of the victim to let her know she is not alone. There are people in the community behind her. We’re here to show our support.”

Barringer said she is concerned about the safety of her own daughter, and she believes the suspects should not be allowed in the school.

As Barringer spoke, cars drove past on Ga. 53 honking their horns in response to signs that said, “No means no” and “honk if you agree.” But not everyone was eager to see the protest, according to Barringer.

“There’s a lot of people being negative toward us, saying that what we’re doing is wrong,” she said. “But we’ve had enough. We need to protect everybody and stand up and say we need morals, like respect. That’s totally lost in our society.”

According to law enforcement reports, the incident allegedly took place around 11:30 p.m. the night of the prom.

The report and statements from witnesses indicate that all, or at least nearly all, of the attendees were drinking alcohol and were intoxicated.

Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson said he hopes to have the investigation finished by the end of this week.