Like most high schools, Grosse Pointe North High is a place full of hormones and insecurity. Sexuality and social pressure can make for a volatile combination. Sometimes that combination leads older guys to take advantage of younger girls eager for acceptance. But is there a difference between mistreating vulnerable young girls.
CBS News 48 Hours takes a look at this question, taking viewer to Grosse Pointe, a small, well-to-do suburb near Detroit, where four high school seniors are accused of rape by a group of freshman girls.
Dan Granger was the perfect kid. He was senior class president, on his way to the University of Michigan. He had his own car, his own TV show, a cell phone, even a sort of clubhouse - a converted attic at home where he and his friends could throw parties. He hopes to one day be President.
Then, last year, it all came apart.
After the school yearbook included a small photo of Dan caught by surprise in the bathroom with his genitals exposed, Dan's father threatened to sue the school. That's when the school started asking questions about Dan, and started hearing stories that he and his friends were taking advantage of younger girls. Some girls said they had been forced to have sex.
Eventually, Dan and three of his friends were indicted for statutory rape. Dan and his defenders said that the girls had set them up, and that the sex had been entirely consensual. Most in the community rallied around him. The accusers are subjected to slurs and harassment, both at school and in the neighborhood. The girls change schools. One family decides to move away. "We had people driving by at all hours of the night screaming, just horrible," says Norine Ciccarelli, one of the girls' mothers.
Meanwhile, the University of Michigan decides it doesn't want Dan as a student. He applies to Wayne State, which also rejects him. Meanwhile, Dan and his friends are facing very serious legal consequences. If the court decides that Dan or the other boys had consensual sex with the any of the girls -- even if the girls were willing participants - the act would still be illegal, simply because the girls were under 16 years of age. Most people believe statutory rape laws are intended to protect young girls from much older men. And many states exempt high school age peers from felony prosecution. Michigan, though, does not.
Facing up to 15 years in prison, Dan decides to take a plea bargain. He agrees to plead guilty to conspiracy to contribute to the delinquency of a minor, and is sentenced to four and a half months in prison, two years probation and 200 hours of community service. His three friends pled guilty to a lesser charge: But two of them admitted in their plea to getting no "expressions of consent" from the girls.
What does Dan's father Rick think, after all is said and done: "You cannot stop kids from doing what they want to do. You can't stop them from drinking. You can't stop them from having sex Kids make mistakes."
Says Nicole: "I hope he's finally learned his lesson. I really do."
How does Dan feel, after being sent to prison? "I just try and think that this is God's way of telling me that I need to examine myself, spend some time alone figuring myself out."
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produced by David Kohn