A federal judge has recused himself from presiding over lawsuits filed against the Hamilton County Department of Education over the Ooltewah High rape incident.
Judge Travis McDonough, who has been overseeing the case since it was filed in December 2016, gave no reason for the recusal.
Judge Sandy Mattice will be taking over the case.
Judge McDonough had most recently been asked to rule whether cases brought by plaintiffs against the county schools should be tried separately. The cases involving a student who had to be hospitalized after a pool stick was inserted in his rectum and a student who was also molested but not injured had earlier been consolidated.
Attorneys for the youth who was not injured recently said it would be prejudicial for their client when jurors learned about the more serious case.
The incident happened just before Christmas 2015 when the boys basketball team was staying at a cabin in Gatlinburg. The trip was for a basketball tournament.