Hazing News

Hazing Awareness: There is no fun in these games. 25 bad incidents that do not involve Greeks

25 bad hazing incidents that do not involve Greeks

By Hank Nuwer

Thorndale High School
Thorndale, Texas
Sexual Hazing (sodomizing charges reduced)
October 1997

Four athletes accepted a guilty plea of Class B misdemeanor hazing in an incident where a plastic bottle was jammed in a younger player’s anal cavity to initiate him as a junior varsity player. Each hazer agreed to perform 80 hours of community service for the lesser charge.

2) Lyndhurst High School
Lyndhurst, New Jersey
Football with sodomy allegations

At a football camp in Pennsylvania, one sophomore was allegedly forced to insert his finger into the anus of another sophomore while 20 to 30 other teammates looked on. Two upperclassmen were dismissed from the team, and two others were demoted on the squad as a result of a school inquiry into the matter. No coaches were disciplined.

Ontario High School (Oregon)
Baseball team male-on-male violence

Police ended a one-year investigation into the sodomizing of four rookie players. Police said six veterans sodomized the four. (Brad: Info was sketchy on this one)

4) Sunnyside High School
Sunnyside, Washington
Wrestling sodomy allegations

In the school’s wrestling room, a 15-year-old boy was allegedly sodomized with a mop handle while teammates held him down and dozens of other wrestlers watched. The attack sent the boy, bleeding and traumatized, to the hospital for a week. He suffered internal injuries. Richard Melendrez, 18, pleaded guilty to second-degree reckless endangerment and was given 60 days in a work-release program. Second-degree rape charges that were pending against three others in juvenile court were reduced to fourth-degree assault.

5) Johnson Creek High School
Johnson Creek, Wisconsin
Wrestling sodomy allegations with acquittals

Wrestlers admitted taping a teammate but denied sodomizing him with a mop handle, as the victim claimed. Four juveniles settled their cases out of court and two were acquitted.

6) Alexander High School
Alexander, Ohio
Football sodomy

Travis A. Hawk, a team captain, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of hazing involving several freshman teammates in the locker room showers. Parents of the victims contended their sons were sodomized with shampoo bottles after football practice on separate nights and suffered from mental anguish and continued harassment in school. Hawk was given a suspended sentence and $50 fine, plus community service requirement.

7) Canyon High School
Canyon, Texas
Football assault with coat hangers
Nine players and the head coach were suspended for an alleged hazing incident involving coat hangers in the locker room. Two players were charged with misdemeanor assault for “knowingly and intentionally causing physical contact with another … that was offensive or provocative.”

8) Prospect High School
Prospect, Illinois
Football sodomy allegations

Two players testified in juvenile court that they rescued a teammate after he allegedly was sexually assaulted with a foreign object in the locker room.

9) Rancho Bernardo High School
Rancho Bernardo, California
Baseball sexual assault

Three players pleaded guilty to sodomizing a freshman teammate with a broom handle in a school locker room after a game. They served time in juvenile hall for the crime. The school district paid $675,000 to settle a claim by the victim. According to the sworn declarations by students as the case proceeded, a tradition of hazing among athletes had existed at the school. Students said that varsity team members would intimidate freshmen by threatening to rape them and also were involved in simulated rapes.

10) Raoul Wallenberg Traditional Alternative High School
San Francisco, California
Baseball assault

Three players were arrested after a pool-side hazing turned into an alleged sexual assault on a team road trip. The San Francisco Examiner reported that “foreign objects,” possibly coat hangers, had been used to sexually assault the students. Earlier, the students had been throwing the younger teammates in the pool. The coach was fired immediately and the team’s season was canceled.

11) Yucca Valley High School
Yucca Valley, California
Sexual battery with an object penetrating victim

One football player was found not guilty by the courts and five settled for a lesser sexual battery charge by admitting involvement in an incident where a younger player was penetrated with an object.

12) Trumbull High School
Trumbull, Connecticut
Wrestling sodomizing

Eight students were arrested and seven expelled after a new teammate was injured in a hazing ritual. Police say the victim, a student with learning disabilities, was stuffed inside a locker, slammed into a wall and sodomized with a plastic knife handle in a series of attacks. The victim suffered a serious knee injury in one incident and is receiving counseling for emotional trauma. A team member also reportedly told police that both the wrestling and basketball coaches at the school saw the victim hog-tied and did nothing. The courts allowed the records of hazers to be expunged after staying out of trouble a specified amount of time.

13) Hilton Head High School
Hilton Head, SC
Wrestling assaults

The wrestling coach resigned and six players were suspended after a player complained of being sexually assaulted with a broomstick. In a statement, police also found that wrestlers engaged in practices called “trademarking,” in which wrestlers were hit, usually on the back, while sweating, which would leave a welt; and “dinking” which is a distraction technique used by the wrestlers during wrestling matches to defeat their opponent. Dinking “is when the finger is placed in or about the rectum area to distract the other (wrestler),” police said. The victims declined to press charges.

14) Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School
Broadview Heights, Ohio
Finger inserted during hazing (charges reduced)
May 28, 2003

As part of a hazing practice done to freshman and sophomores, two teens held down a 16-year-old while
a third teen put one finger into the victim’s anus. Patrick Pristas, 18, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of assault and unlawful restraint and was put on probation.

15) North Carolina State University high school basketball camp
Raleigh, North Carolina
After a lengthy investigation, two Avery County basketball players working at an NCSU basketball camp admitted sodomizing younger students in a dormitory, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. One was found guilty of ten counts of hazing and the other was guilty of multiple accounts of simple assault. One was expelled from Avery and both were kicked off the basketball team. The two were placed on probation and ordered to stay away from the victims. A father told the newspaper is son’s rectum was severely injured. The families of the victims cooperated with the court to let the more culpable offender receive a misdemeanor charge instead of a felony charge that brought with it far tougher sentencing. Avery basketball coaches were supposed to be supervising the counselors.

16) W.C. Mepham High School
Bellmore, N.Y.
Football Camp

Veteran football players penetrated three JV players with a broomstick, pine cones and golf balls during several attacks. Two coaches lost their job and were reassigned without teaching duties. Two players were sentenced to serve time in detention centers. Two others received probation.

17) Colonia High School
Middlesex County, New Jersey
Sexual hazing on soccer team
November 2004

Four soccer players entered guilty please to allegations they put a banana between a player’s bare buttocks to simulate a sex act, a common prank at the school according to testimony reported in the Star-Ledger. In the course of the so-called prank, the victim’s buttocks had been touched. The players argued they considered the event to be a joke, not an assault. One of those accused of criminal restraint, age 18. went on to play college soccer at a New Jersey College and was interviewed subsequently in an article on campus behavior to say that hazing was not allowed at his new school. Colina High forfeited a game during the investigation. Lawyers for the accused stressed the event was supposed to be a prank, not a hazing, in the minds of their clients.

18) Barnegat High School
Barnegat, New Jersey
Alleged JV football team hazing
September 24, 2004

Hazing allegations involving molestation of a 14-year-old were reported after a party at a residence where a football team member was reportedly held down by other team members and sexually assaulted with a pool stick, according to the ABC-TV web site. Some team members used cell phones to photograph the alleged initiation, according to the site. Police charged one juvenile with aggravated criminal sexual contact, criminal restraint, assault, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Two others were charged with lesser offenses, including the attempted destruction of cell phone evidence.

19) Plattsmouth High School
Plattsmouth, Nebraska
Improper touching called horseplay

After several varsity players changed their story, a veteran player was cleared of charges he sodomized a player.

The criminal charges against a veteran for sexual assault during hazing were not sustained. The player was expelled and admitted simulating sex but said the act was meant as a prank and had been done by him to other players on other occasions, according to the World-Herald. The victim claimed he had been anally violated with the veteran’s fingers.

20) Port Hope High School
Port Hope, Michigan
Basketball sexual hazing alleged

After Derek Kessel, a student with learning disabilities, died in a single car crash, police and his parents began pursuing Derek’s allegations that he had been taunted and poked inside his buttocks during a hazing meant to humiliate him. Huron County Prosecutor Mark Gaertner told reporters and family there was insufficient evidence of anything other than horseplay and declined to press charges. The alleged hazing case remains disputed by the family. The crash was due to Kessel driving in an unsafe manner, ruled Gaertner. For documents in a lawsuit filed by family and a slideshow, see

21) Dom Savio High School
Boston, Massachusetts
Coach hazing and sexual assaults
December 2006

Former wrestling coach Everett Bower, 34, pleaded guilty to hazing, raping and sexually assaulting two then-15-year-old wrestlers he had invited to join his handpicked group he called the Disciples, according to the Boston Globe.

22) A Better Chance
Glastonbury, Connecticut
Penetration with a pen and brutal beatings
June 2007 (final sentencing)

Many victims were beaten over a long period of time in this residential home for minority youth with potential for success. One was given the choice of a beating or being sodomized with a pen. Three teens were sentenced to jail terms of five years (needing to serve nine months or less) and one, who testified against the other three, was put on probation for three years. All accepted plea agreements (the three pleaded no contest) and otherwise could have received far tougher sentencing on numerous charges. The no contest was entered by counsel for Jeff Utobor, Silvester Baez and Pedro Reyes. The fourth teen given probation was Christopher Lewis. Baez pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault. Utobor was accused of inserting the object while the other two held down a victim. A resident director voluntarily left his position when the charges became known but was not implicated in any of the events.

23) Molalla High School
Molalla, Oregon
Alleged sexual hazing and one count of alleged sodomy
December 2006

At least five teenage basketball players (oldest age 18) and possibly more will end up in court on felony charges that they sexually hazed a younger player. One is accused of using a finger to penetrate the victim, according to the Oregonian. The hazing attacks were alleged to have occurred in a motel and tea bus during a road trip. The trio are to appear in court in July of 2007.

24) 2000
Winslow High School (Arizona)
Sexual hazing alleged (basketball/track)

Members of a girl’s athletic squad charged that they saw evidence of male athletes being
sodomized with fingers and objects. A parent of a young
man accused of hazing says due process was not followed.

New London High School (Madison County, Ohio)
Sexual assault allegation
Wrestling team (2002)

A 14-year old player charged that he was sodomized with fingers by teammates.

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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