Ten Pennsylvania students have been charged after a lengthy investigation into hazing and sexual assault allegations involving the Middletown Area School football team, according to reports. Six students ages 14-17 were sexually assaulted over the course of a year. In August after several videos surfaced that appeared to show serious hazing incidents at the school, the football season was canceled at the suburban Harrisburg school.
One video shows a group of students holding two teammates down and using a muscle therapy gun and athletic equipment to poke the buttock regions of the students held on the ground in the facility’s turf room.
The Swatara Township Police and the District Attorney’s Office in Dauphin County made the announcement of the 10 students being charged.
“Two students, both seventeen years of age, have been charged with multiple counts of criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, unlawful restraint, simple assault, and hazing,” District Attorney Francis T. Chardo said in a statement.
The remaining students were charged with a variety of offenses, including: unlawful restraint, simple assault, hazing, and violating hazing statute.
Sadly, hazing happens routinely at many high schools and colleges across the country. It even happens within the U.S. military. Team members see it as some sort of ritual rite of passage. Of course when you hold someone against their will and subject them to sexual and other physical assault its hard to see this as anything other than a heinous crime.
During the course of the investigation as police discovered the students that were assaulted they also uncovered that the main perpetrators were the same two student athletes.
The assaults took place on school grounds, at a private residence and at a team football camp over the summer.
Police say that as many as six additional students have been assaulted but have been afraid to cooperate for fear of further retribution. The police also say that none of the coaches or school administrators was aware of what was going on.
“This investigation did not involve just hazing or ‘boys will be boys’ conduct,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gettle said. “Rather, two of these individuals committed repeated sexual assaults and encouraged others to participate under the guise of hazing.”
A total of eight students have been expelled as a result of this incident, according to the school board. When a student is up for expulsion they have the right to a formal hearing on what they’re accused of before the school board makes a decision. But waivers were approved for all hearings, which signifies the district and students agree that hearings are unnecessary.
“This is on us to implement changes that will have significant, positive and lasting impact to know and do better,” Chelton Hunter, Middletown superintendent, said.
These kids involved know what they did was wrong and they’ll be punished accordingly. For the two that are facing criminal charges, trouble is only just beginning. The matters will be handled in the juvenile court system, but maybe they should be tried as adults. At 17, you know the difference between right and wrong, and the sophistication of these assaults says as much.
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