Hazing charges filed against teens after NJ high school football team investigated – NBC New York

What there is to know

  • Several New Jersey high school students have been criminally charged following a hazing investigation with the school’s football team
  • At least four students were suspended in the fall when the school’s athletic director was put on leave, several coaches were suspended and games canceled
  • The charges include hazing, attempted criminal sexual contact, criminal sexual contact, forcible confinement and harassment.

A widespread investigation into alleged hazing practices involving a New Jersey high school football team has now led to criminal charges against “a number” of the teenage students involved.

The Monmouth County District Attorney’s Office has announced juvenile complaints resulting from incidents in the locker rooms of the Wall Township High School football team between September and October last year. The charges include hazing, attempted criminal sexual contact, criminal sexual contact, forcible confinement and harassment.

Additional charges of aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault have been laid against a minor for alleged acts outside of school.

A lawyer for one of the indicted students said it was “unprecedented and blatantly irresponsible” for the prosecutor’s office to disclose information relating to the charges of minors, and to challenge the allegations of any sex crimes.

“There is absolutely nothing sexual about anything that happened in the videos or in the locker room and we can’t wait to prove it. It was about wrestling and sophomoric behavior from boys aged 15, 16 and 17 years before football training in front of the coaches – if there had been anything sexual the coaches would have stopped it, but they didn’t because it was nothing more than heckling, “attorney Christopher Adams said in a statement to NBC New York. “Adding a baseless sex charge is not only supported by facts, but nothing more than playing politics and bending to the media.”

Adams also sued the acting state attorney general, saying that if Andrew Bruck approved the release of the information regarding the juvenile charges, “he then proved he did not support the juvenile justice reforms of the administration and was not qualified “for the position.”

While the number of students facing criminal charges is not known, they follow suspensions of four student athletes late last year by school administrators. The Wall High School suspensions came at two separate times, once immediately after reports of bullying and hazing surfaced, and then at least about a week later.

Student suspensions also came after the high school’s athletic director was put on administrative leave, several coaches were suspended and games were called off. This follows several heated school board meetings that have taken place since the allegations came to light earlier in November.

“Although no information is released regarding most of the juvenile cases, the prosecutor’s office is releasing the above information today in response to intense public scrutiny regarding these matters and a high degree of disinformation circulating around them. subject, as well as in order to educate and inform the community as to the seriousness of such behavior ”, indicated Monday the statement of the prosecutor.

The prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the locker room incident in which parents said they were captured on cell phone video.

“We hope that the lessons learned from this case will foster a renewed interest in actively teaching minors in all of our schools what conduct crosses the line of acceptability and what students should do if they are a bystander or victim of. hazing, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, “Monmouth County Acting Attorney Lori Linskey said in a statement.

Wall Township Public School Principal Dr Tracy Handerhan and other school officials have repeatedly said they could not comment due to the ongoing investigation. Handerhan detailed what the district has done since the allegations emerged.

Some parents say they are angry that the entire football team is being punished for the allegations about around six players. One berated the district for canceling the playoffs and Thanksgiving games after a year where students had already lost so much to the pandemic.

At one of the meetings in the fall, many angry parents wanted to know why they found out about the allegations through the news and not through the school, asking when district officials first found out. . Among those taking the mike were former students who say hazing has been a part of school for a long time and was bullied years ago.

Eric Duchak explained that he was dragged across the locker room floor, as well as being kicked and punched with towels, towels and helmets.

The investigation into the hazing allegations at Wall High School led to the suspension of several coaches and the exclusion from the one-game football team. Reports by Brian Thompson of NBC New York.

“I have kept this with me for 27 years,” Duchak told the school board. The former student called the latest allegation by several soccer players threatening to assault a young class man with a broom that is part of an ongoing culture.

And Marilyn Clayton, mother of a former student with Down’s syndrome, too. She says her son was bullied by members of the soccer team in 2012.

“It happened to my son, my son, and it got swept under the carpet,” Clayton said.

The Monmouth County District Attorney’s Office is investigating an allegation that a sophomore was mistaken with a broomstick by several upper class students on the football team. NBC New York’s Checkey Beckford reports.

The families of other players – who were not involved in the hazing incidents – have also hired a lawyer to protect their children’s reputations. The lawyer said in a letter to the commissioner that the ticklish effect of the new suspensions perpetuates a sense of helplessness for those only guilty by association and closeness.

“If there is a danger for a member of the school body, don’t you think that the police have already arrested someone? Said lawyer Chris Gramiccioni.

The attorney’s letter also warned that the suspensions should not be used to send a message to the community or quell public outcry, as the consequences could be too severe.

“When the kids are hanging you can’t ring that bell, they’re wasting precious education time,” he said.

While some parents seek to protect their children, others approve of the suspensions.

“I think the suspension is the only way to deal with this because it teaches other kids, ‘Oh my God, something like that, we better watch it,’” said Nancy Kowalsky, who said her son had been bullied years ago at school, but not by soccer players.

In total, three Wall High School football team coaches have been suspended, sources told NBC New York, including head coach and business professor Tony Grandinetti. He and two others were placed on administrative leave.

So far, a school board member has resigned, citing the hazing allegations as the reason.

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