Hickman student arrested for changing student's name in yearbook

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 | 10:37 p.m. CDT; updated 11:28 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 29, 2013

COLUMBIA — A junior at Hickman High School could be charged with a felony after another student's last name was changed to a sexual term in the 2012-2013 yearbook, the 100th edition of the Hickman Cresset.

Although charges had not been filed, Kaitlyn Booth, 17, was arrested May 14 on suspicion of felony first-degree property damage and misdemeanor harassment, according to Hickman's school resource officer Kevin Keith's probable cause statement. Booth is accused of changing senior Raigan Mastain's last name in the yearbook to "Masturbate," according to Keith's statement.

Sgt. Joseph Bernhard of the Columbia Police Department wrote in an e-mail that the felony charge would be related to the damage done to the yearbooks.

Kim Acopolis, the school's yearbook adviser of 13 years, said that although she did not have the final say, she suggested using highly adhesive stickers to cover the word, which is what the yearbook staff ended up doing.

"The idea to recall and reprint the yearbooks had been floating around," Acopolis said. "I started panicking about where in the world the money would come from."

This year, 720 yearbooks were printed, costing a little more than $41,000.

According to the probable cause statement, Booth admitted to Athletics and Activities Director Doug Mirts and Columbia school district's Assistant Director of Security and Safety Ken Gregory that she inappropriately changed Mastain's last name.

Yearbook staff members were unaware of the name switch until they were alerted by Mastain, who had been contacted by a friend via text message.

"This was a cruel action that someone should not have done to another person, no matter what distaste they have for them," yearbook index editor Emily Rackers said. "We had already given a large number of yearbooks out before we found out about the prank, but we stickered the ones that were left. A lot of people thought it was a funny joke, but they don't realize how big a deal this actually is."

Rackers said she knew of no specific incident that sparked the prank gone wrong, but yearbook editor-in-chief Susan Jenn said it may have been because of Mastain's popularity.

"Raigan was a leader in the class," Jenn said.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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Wayne Savage May 31, 2013 | 9:49 p.m.

If the county prosecuting attorney has any sense, the case against Booth, such as it is, will be dismissed before the Columbia Police Department becomes the laughing stock of law enforcement. Arresting someone because of a squirm-inducing joke? Really?

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