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Alleged sexual and occupational hazing charges in Texas

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June 21, 2007

By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Reporter

SWEETWATER (WATE) — Sweetwater police say workplace hazing has crossed the line into a criminal act, resulting in charges against six men.

It was inside United Wheel, located at 357 Industrial Park Road, that police say a 39-year-old man was tormented and sexually assaulted by his co-workers and boss.

“It just went way out of hand, it got totally out of control,” explains Detective John Scruggs.

Police say the victim was going to be laid off from his job March 14 and on that day, his co-workers gave him a cruel send off he’ll never forget.

Detective Scruggs says Bryan Hinds began harassing the victim, groping him from behind. Then, police say employees threw wheel weights at him and “They duct taped him. When they got done duct taping him, they took some shrink wrap and wrapped him up while they held him.”

Detectives say plant manager Daniel Roberts, along with Bryan Hinds, Jonathon Burris, John Armstrong, Bobby Thompson and Joe Fogle tormented the victim for an hour-and-a-half.

Roberts, Hinds, Burris and Armstrong have been arrested. Police are still searching for Thompson and Fogle.

Police say Roberts encouraged his employees to continue the hazing. ”He offered $20 to anybody who would sit on his face,” Scruggs explains. “And Bobby Thompson did go over, pull his pants down, unclothed and sit directly on his face.”

Right after the attack, police say the victim was handed a pink slip.

Police say as many as six other workers may have witnessed the crime. T

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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