DA: High School 'Hazing' Involved Sexual Assault

10 teens at Middletown High School in Pennsylvania face charges
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2022 7:11 AM CDT
10 High School Students Charged in Hazing Investigation
Chelton L. Hunter, Superintendent of Schools, left, speaks during a Middletown school board meeting, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in Middletown, Pa.   (Sean Simmers/The Patriot-News via AP)

(Newser) – Ten Pennsylvania high school students are facing charges in connection with a hazing scandal that led to the cancellation of the school's 2022 football season. Dauphin County District Attorney Francis T. Chardo said the students, all 16 or 17 years old, were charged as juveniles after a monthlong investigation that began when a video showing an apparent assault on a Middletown High School player was posted on social media and reported to police, CBS reports. Police determined that on Aug. 11, three students were sexually assaulted in a "turf room" used for heat acclimation practice during a 20-minute period when no adults were present, the DA's office said in a statement.

The DA's office said the investigation found that three other students were assaulted over the last year, with at least one incident taking place at a residence. "This investigation did not involve just hazing or 'boys will be boys' conduct," Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gettle said in a statement. "Rather, two of these individuals committed repeated sexual assaults and encouraged others to participate under the guise of hazing." Chardo said the two "main perpetrators," both 17, face multiple counts of criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, unlawful restraint, simple assault, and hazing. Other students face charges including unlawful restraint and hazing.

The DA's office said the investigation found that at least six students, ranging in age from 14 to 17, were assaulted. Superintendent Chelton Hunter has said the Aug. 11 video shows "a group of students restraining two of their teammates and using a muscle therapy gun and another piece of athletic equipment" to poke their buttock areas, the AP reports. Hunter, who called the behavior "completely unacceptable, offensive, and highly inappropriate," said the players remained fully clothed during the incident. The school's head football coach resigned days after the video surfaced, though Chardo said there was no sign that any coaches or administrators knew about the incidents before police were notified. Chardo said the school district was very cooperative and took immediate action to remove the perpetrators from the school. (Read more hazing stories.)

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