12 Boys, Ages 6 to 8, Accused in Sexual Assault of Girl, 8

Twelve boys in the first and second grade at a St. Louis elementary school are accused of sexually assaulting a second-grade girl during recess, authorities said Tuesday.

One teacher who was supposed to be supervising the recess has been fired, and another suspended with pay, school superintendent Creg Williams said. Ten of the boys, ages 6 to 8, were suspended for the rest of the school year, and the other two received five-day, in-school suspensions.

No names were released.

The girl, who is 8, was unharmed physically but will not return for the rest of the school year. "We don't know what type of emotional scars it will have on the young lady," Williams said.

The incident happened Friday at Columbia Accelerated Community Educational Center, a school with 400 students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade on the city's north side.

During the recess shortly after lunch, a student saw several boys huddled around the girl who was on the ground, and alerted a teacher.

Police turned the investigation over to juvenile authorities. A court official said the boys could face misdemeanor counts of sexual misconduct and assault.