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Detective in Tenn. high school rape case investigated for perjury

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- A Tennessee district attorney general has ordered an investigation into a police detective's "perjurious testimony" about the sexual abuse of high school basketball players.

On Monday, Gatlinburg Police Detective Rodney Burns testified the assault was blown out of proportion and "something stupid that kids do."

The testimony came in a Chattanooga case that accuses Ooltewah High School officials of failing to report the abuse. Police say the assault took place before Christmas in Gatlinburg, where the team was playing in a tournament.

The two jurisdictions have been at odds over the severity of the assaults. Affidavits in the Chattanooga case claim four freshmen players were "subjected to apparent sexual assault." But Gatlinburg Police have pressed rape charges in only one case.

During Monday's testimony, Burns said his interviews with Ooltewah players revealed a history of hazing involving the basketball team. He said one of the defendants told him he'd been hit with pool cues by teammates years earlier and older players had turned out the lights in the locker room and started punching teammates.

The judge said he was troubled by the testimony.

Burns did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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