Teen rape suspect sparks high-school sports investigation

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The 16-year-old Valley high school student charged with two rapes in Scottsdale made his first court appearance, Monday. Court documents show investigators linked Danny Jackson to the assaults through DNA evidence taken from a previous arrest. 

Jackson is a sophomore at Chaparral High School. His suspected involvement with the sexual assaults is also bringing heat on Chaparral High School and its powerhouse football program.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association, Arizona’s governing body for high-school sports, said it’s looking into allegations that Jackson was recruited to play football at Chaparral.  Recruiting is prohibited at the high-school level.

A freshman team picture with Jackson (now a sophomore) sitting in the front row was on the website run by the Chaparral Firebirds Booster Club as of Sunday night.  It was apparently taken down sometime Monday after allegations surfaced from the AIA.

“If the association were to get information with regard to recruiting allegations, or a student playing based on him or her being recruited, a private investigator could be used…” said Charles Schmidt, Associate Executive Director of the AIA.

Schmidt said the investigation is only in the very early stages, which first involves making contact with Scottsdale United School District. 

The situation was brought to light in comments made in several news reports of Jackson’s arrest over the weekend.  Schmidt said competing schools have asked the AIA to look into allegations that Jackson was recruited and possibly not meeting AIA residency requirements for playing at Chaparral.

“Indeed, in the process of gathering information, interviews could be conducted with students, coaches, booster club members, etc.,” Schmidt said.

One Chaparral student who didn’t want to be identified told 3TV that he knew Jackson fairly well, and that it's well known around school that Jackson came to Chaparral to play football.