CALHOUN, Ga. -- The Gilmer County Sheriff's Office has charged three Calhoun High School seniors with sexually assaulting a girl at an after-prom party.
Sheriff Stacy Nicholson says he can't prove rape, but believes Fields Chapman, Andrew Haynes and Avery Johnson -- all 18 years old -- used either another body part or foreign object to assault a classmate inside a cabin at the Coosawatee River Resort.
"I've been here 23 years and her injuries were substantial," said Sheriff Nicholson.
Nicholson says they had a list of suspects three days into the investigation, but waited 18 days to make the arrests.
"Once you make an arrest, the information flow tends to shut down," he explained.
They now all face a charge for aggravated sexual battery and underage drinking. The felony carries of punishment of 25 years to life in prison.
It's an investigation that has played out as much in the community as behind detectives doors. Facebook and twitter posts, demanding arrests and answers.
Nicholson says while there's no proof of drugs at the party, there was a lot of drinking. According to the incident report, the victim could not identify who attacked her.
"Teenagers and alcohol do not mix. They do not mix, there's nothing good that can come out of it and it's not just a little innocent fun," he said.
But Nicholson says after more than 50 interviews, a key witness that came forward Tuesday and evidence from the students' own cell phones, he feels confident in the arrests.
The uproar led the school district to ban the suspects from Calhoun High School's graduation ceremony, fearing their presence would cause a disturbance.