Hazing News

East football players (Utah) apologize in sexual hazing case and get reduced penalties

Link: Two former East High football players accused of sexually hazing other team members pleaded guilty to lesser charges Monday and were ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and write apologies to the victims.
They also agreed to testify against a third player if his case goes to trial.
All three teenagers were charged with one count each of forcible sodomy, attempted sodomy and forcible sexual abuse, which are first-degree felonies in adult court. The charges alleged that on three occasions, two players held other boys down while the third touched his genitals or buttocks to the victim’s face or head.
On Monday, the two players admitted they committed sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor, and simple assault, a class B misdemeanor, by holding victims down in the locker room while the third player allegedly sexually assaulted them.
Third District Juvenile Judge Sharon McCully said that rather than being sexual predators, the two had engaged in “stupid jock behavior.”
But the judge emphasized that what might have seemed “funny” at the time was humiliating, embarrassing and hurtful to the victims.
She called the tradition of locker room hazing “unacceptable,” and noted that this case resulted in the filing of serious felony charges.
In court Monday, both
players apologized to the victims and their families, who did not attend, and their own families.
The third player could resolve his case short of trial during a Wednesday hearing before Juvenile Judge Dane Nolan.
The three players were all 15 years old when the incidents occurred in late August and early September. All three were kicked off the sophomore football team and are now attending other schools.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; 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 current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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