“Unfounded” hazing incident under investigation
Updated: Dec 21, 2007 01:01 AM
Sandra Chapman/Eyewitness News
Spencer – Family members of two teenaged boys say freshman hazing at a small Indiana high school is nothing short of criminal.
Last week, both students reported they were violently grabbed, restrained and subjected to lewd sexual acts by a group of athletes.
It happened at Owen Valley High School in Spencer.Â That’s just south of Bloomington.
Now the serious allegations are under review by state and local authorities.
Pinned down in the back of the school bus on the way home from a game of hoops, a 15-year old freshman says he was the target of a humiliating initiation by members of the Owen Valley High School basketball team.
“This is an initiation.Â That the freshman are going to be got in some fashion.Â They did involve private areas — genitals.Â The precise definition would be criminal deviate conduct,” said Bloomington Attorney Betsy Greene.
She is representing not one but two freshman at the school who describe vulgar attacks by the same group of athletes.
The second one happened a day after the bus incident before basketball practice.Â Â The student says two players grabbed him in the locker room while another approached exposing himself.
“He was touched in a very inappropriate manner and in inappropriate places,” explained Greene.
That student says he was able to break free.Â Parents for both young men involved are furious.Â We spoke with one family member by phone.Â We’re withholding his name to protect the student’s privacy.
That relative says he’s especially concerned that freshman are the alleged targets. “They’re extremely vulnerable so it’s even much more important that they have somebody in coaching, administration to stand up for them,” he told Eyewitness News.
The families reported the school attacks to the Spencer Police Department.
The department would not allow Eyewitness News to see the report.
At the school, we caught up with the Assistant Superintendent, who told us he could not comment about the situation and referred us to Dr. Marsha Turner-Shear — the Owen Valley Superintendent.
Eyewitness News made several efforts to speak with the Dr. Turner-Shear but our repeated calls to her office were not returned.
The families say they are less than pleased with how it’s all being handled.
“Every member from coaching on up has demonstrated that behind (closed) doors their policy is to avoid conflict, avoid an up-stir,” said the relative.
They want to know if the coaches were aware of the alleged hazing – an experience Greene, who is also a former child abuse prosecutor, says no young man should have to endure.
“It’s my hope that my clients won’t be horribly affected by this.Â The goal of the families at this point it to make sure that nothing of this nature happens to another student and that high school,” because according to Greene, “It’s wrong. It’s just wrong.”
Days after Eyewitness News was first notified about the attacks, Superintendent Turner-Shear said the report was unfounded.
Now multiple investigations are underway including a referral to Child Protective Services.