HENDERSON, N.C. – Police declined to file criminal charges after a female student said she was forced to perform oral sex on three male students in a school stairwell while another student recorded with a cellphone.

All of the Northern Vance High School students involved in the incident are developmentally disabled, and included a 14-year-old girl and three male students, ages 15, 16, and 18, according to the Henderson Dispatch, which did not detail the age of the student who recorded.

School officials have refused to discuss details about the incident, but told the news site they contacted police the day after the incident occurred on Jan. 7.

“School staff discovered students out of place and began to question the situation,” Cindy Bennett, Vance County Schools assistant superintendent of student services, wrote in an email to the Dispatch. “This realization happened after the incident, as the school was dismissing for the day. School staff immediately began to review security footage to determine if an incident had occurred.”

Bennett ignored questions about why police were not contacted immediately, and how students were able to engage in sex acts in a school hallway unsupervised and undetected.

Fox 8 reports the Vance County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office investigated the incident and determined a crime was not committed because the young girl seemed to be a willing participant in the action, and the cell phone video recording was not disseminated.

Sheriff Peter White told the Dispatch that both the student recorded video and school security footage made it clear the boys did not force the young girl to perform oral sex.

Bennett referred to the incident as a disciplinary infraction and said the male students involved could face up to a 364-day suspension. She would not tell the Dispatch whether any school employees were reprimanded as a result of the incident, or if staff obtained the cell phone video recorded by the students.

“VCS investigates any complaint that could potentially involve criminal behavior with a high level of confidentiality and professionalism,” she wrote in an email.

Parents sounded off about the situation online, posing many of the same questions school officials apparently don’t want to answer.

“How is it possible for five developmentally challenged people to be missing from supervision during school hours long enough for this to even happen?” Scott Perkins posted to Facebook.

“This is unreal. Did no one miss these students?” Judy Perkins wrote. “The girl was under age, how can no charges be brought against the boys? Makes you wonder if someone was paid.”

“Why doesn’t the girl risk any kind of suspension?” Lakesha McDougald questioned.

Sheriff White explained to the Dispatch why officials opted not to file criminal charges:

White said the only charge he considered in this case is crime against nature, which is categorized under “offenses against public morality or decency.”

He said force is not required for this offense. But White said he would also charge the 14-year-old girl in this case, if any charges are filed, because the evidence indicated she participated willingly.

North Carolina also has a charge dealing specifically with statutory rape or sexual offense of someone who is 13, 14, or 15 years old.

But it only applies in cases where the perpetrator is at least six years older than the victim or more than four but less than six years older.

White said criminal charges related to the video of minors engaged in sexual acts were not filed because the cellphone footage was not disseminated.