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Hazing suit after alleged sexual attack at football camp

excerpt

Hazing incident involved attack on student, lawsuit says

By MIKE MATHIS and MELISSA HAYES
Burlington County Times
WILLINGBORO — The mother of a former Willingboro High School football player has sued the school board, alleging her son was physically and sexually assaulted by fellow players during an apparent hazing incident at a summer football camp.

The suit, filed yesterday in Superior Court in Mount Holly, contends the 15-year-old student suffered physical and psychological injuries in the alleged attack on Aug. 19, 2006, at Camp Tioga in Thompson, Pa., near the New York state border.

The youth and his mother are both listed as plaintiffs. Their names are being withheld by the Burlington County Times because of the youth’s age.

The suit states they are seeking unspecified damages, although court documents state the boy has accrued $3 million in medical bills and other costs.

School district Superintendent Ed Kern was out of the office yesterday afternoon and unavailable for comment.

Citing privacy laws, the attorney for the school board, Rocky Peterson, said he could not specifically comment on what actions the district took against any students involved.

“The students were disciplined,” he said.

The alleged abuse at the hands of the boy’s teammates involved physical and sexual attacks that included sodomy with unspecified objects, according to court documents.

“(He) was ripped out of his bed, held down, punched, kicked and sodomized with an object, all in the presence of several older students,” said John Borbi, an Evesham-based attorney representing the alleged victim. “(He) was only a sophomore. He’s a very quiet, small, thin young man. This was perpetrated by older, more aggressive kids.”

Borbi said his client, a high school sophomore, did not return to school after the incident and is now enrolled in another district.

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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