Hazing News

Judge gets hazer counseling after young man’s apologies

Moderator: Wise decision. I hope this works out.

Therapy ordered in ‘hazing’
By Linda Thomson
Deseret News
Published: May 8, 2008
A former East High School football player charged with various sex crimes needs treatment more than punishment, according to a juvenile court judge.

Third District Juvenile Judge Dane Nolan on Wednesday ordered the youth into the custody of the Division of Juvenile Justice Services, called for a plan of treatment that had been recommended in a report prepared earlier, and told the teen he had to write letters of apology to his victims.

Nolan technically sentenced the 16-year-old to a “secure care” facility but suspended that and instead required the teen to be placed in a less restrictive “residential care” facility where he will get several types of counseling. If that fails, then the boy will be put in a secure environment.

The judge said he was encouraged by the fact that the teen and his parents all apologized in court for the teen’s actions in separate incidents that landed him in court.

“I look at the case today as the beginning for you,” Nolan told the teen. “The behavior was outrageous and wrong, but I’m very encouraged by the comments you’ve made today and the comments of your parents.”

The 16-year-old was found guilty in March of forcible sexual abuse and attempted forcible sodomy, both first-degree felonies, as well as class A misdemeanor lewdness, for three 2007 hazing incidents involving other team members.

Nolan rejected claims that this was simply horseplay and determined the conduct was unlawful sexual activity. Two other teenagers who were part of that case took plea bargains and were sentenced to community service.

In January, however, this particular teen was charged with crimes involving two children, then ages 8 and 11.

Those charges were two counts of attempted sodomy on a child, a second-degree felony; two counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; and lewdness involving a child, a third-degree felony.

Those five charges were resolved Monday through a plea bargain in which the teen admitted guilt only to a class A misdemeanor charge of lewdness involving a child.

“I’m sorry for what I have done,” the 16-year-old said, adding he also was apologizing to his victims, the court and his parents for the pain he caused them.

The teen’s father and mother also apologized to his victims, to the court for taking up its time, the community and East High School for hurting its reputation.

“I love my son very much, but his actions make me embarrassed,” the boy’s father tearfully told the judge.

The boy’s mother said her son deserves to be punished for what he did but also stated that she loves him very much and asked that he be given “the best care” to help him change his behavior.

The youth will remain in a detention center until a spot becomes available in a residential treatment facility.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based 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 new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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