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GASTONIA, N.C. -- A Gastonia teenager is facing sexual assault and kidnapping charges after an incident in a high school bathroom Monday.

Damitri Mitchell, 16, shook his head during his first court appearance when the prosecutor read the charges against him.


On Monday the Ashbrook High School student was arrested for allegedly trying to sexually assault a female classmate in the women s bathroom at the school.

His mother came to court and strongly defended her son, saying he is a good child, had done well in school and attended church.

The allegations are just ridiculous. The accuser is at school right now. It s ridiculous, said Mitchell's mother, who did not give us her first name. If this happened, why is she at school.

Police say he attacked the 17-year-old victim by covering her mouth with one hand and trying to unbutton her jeans with the other. Investigators say she fought him off and ran to get help.

Isaac Brown saw Mitchell shortly after the incident and says he didn't notice anything unusual.

He was with nobody but that was near the boys bathroom. I shook his hand and everything, said Brown.

Mitchell is charged with one count of felony second-degree sexual offense, one count of felony second-degree kidnapping and one count of misdemeanor communicating threats.

Captain W.S. Melton with Gaston County Police says he's glad Mitchell was caught quickly, since he says these type of crimes don't often happen inside Gaston County Schools.

This is an isolated incident, said Melton. In my years, it's one of the first cases that I can recall ever happening in Gaston County Schools. [The charges] will carry with [Mitchell] the rest of his life, and [the trauma of the attack] will also carry with her, he continued.

A spokesperson with Gaston County Schools says Mitchell has been suspended from Ashbrook High School pending a complete police and district investigation.

Harmony Phillips goes to church with Mitchell and is also an Ashbrook student.

I don t believe it because I know Damitri personally. He wasn t that kind of person.

As his hearing ended, Mitchell told his mother he loved her and cried.

The judge declined to reduce Mitchell s $250,000 secured bond, but his mother s words had an effect. He wants to revisit the issue Wednesday and could reduce the bond at that time.

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