Ten Pennsylvania teens have been charged in connection to “disturbing” hazing incidents.
According to TMZ, the allegations stem from cell phone footage posted on social media back in August. The video appeared to show football players at Middletown Area High School assaulting three of their teammates during practice. School district superintendent Chelton Hunter detailed the video content in an Aug. 22 letter to parents.
Cell phone video, taken by players, shows a group of students restraining two of their teammates and using a muscle therapy gun and another piece of athletic equipment to poke the buttock areas of the students who were on the ground. The video shows players fully clothed. It did not appear that any student’s body was physically penetrated. The video is difficult to watch as this is a completely unacceptable, offensive, and highly inappropriate act.
Investigators determined the assaults took place within the span of 23 minutes, without the presence of any adults. The district attorney’s office also found that three other student-athletes were allegedly assaulted during the past year. One of those assaults is believed to have occurred at a residence. Authorities say all six victims are between the ages of 14 and 16.
“To be clear, Middletown Area School District will not tolerate hazing, is committed to investigating all reported incidents of hazing, and is actively engaged in pursuing discipline for the students responsible for violating our policies in this case,” Hunter wrote. “… We are addressing this matter with the utmost sense of urgency to ensure that our school environment is free from behaviors that are meant to demean, humiliate or harm other students. Once all investigations are concluded, the District will be working to develop additional protocols and supports to promote a positive school climate and culture for all students.”
District officials canceled the school’s football season after the video came to light. The team’s head coach offered his resignation just days later.
According to the DA, the two 17-year-old students were charged with multiple counts of criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, unlawful restraint, simple assault, and hazing. The other defendants, ages 16-17, were charged with unlawful restraint, simple assault, and hazing.
The cases will be handled in juvenile court.