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Buffalo allegations reported by Buffalo News

3 Wilson students arrested in baseball team hazing
Allegations includebeating, sex abuse
By Maki Becker Buffalo NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Updated: 04/27/08 10:09 AM

Three students on the Wilson High School baseball team were arrested Friday following allegations that they were involved in hazing that included criminal sexual acts of younger members of the team on a bus, authorities said Saturday.

But state police are also trying to determine whether the incidents on the bus were part of a larger pattern of violent sexual hazing by baseball team members that has been going on for years.

“We’re looking at whether it’s an isolated incident or not and if there are other issues in the past,” said Lt. Rick Allen of the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

In addition, state investigators are looking into what the coaches knew about what happened on the bus, why they didn’t stop the alleged sexual acts and why they didn’t report it to police.

“We haven’t concluded whether they did know anything,” Allen said. “We’re still looking at that.”

State troopers learned about the alleged sexual hazing from the parents of one of the victims — and not the school, Allen said.

School officials, teachers, coaches and others who are charged with the care of minors are legally required to report suspected abuse of children to police.

The incidents that state police are investigating took place on a team bus about a week ago, Allen said.

Allen, and other school officials, have refused to give details about the allegations.

Sources told The Buffalo News that varsity members of the baseball team are accused of targeting younger junior varsity team members, who are about 13 and 14.

They allegedly beat and sexually abused more than one boy. One of the incidents may have involved a cell phone.

All three students, whose names were not released, were charged with third-degree aggravated sexual abuse, a felony. They were all released to the custody of their parents.

Neither of the school’s baseball coaches could be reached by phone on Saturday.

Wilson High School Principal Daniel Johnson told parents Friday in a districtwide phone message that the baseball season had been suspended while the investigation continues.

He also said the school would hold a meeting at 7 p. m. Thursday to answer questions about the alleged hazing.

State Police investigators were planning to hold a news conference Monday to give further details about the case.

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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