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Hazing News

State Police defend hazing investigation

Verdict reached in
Wilson hazing case
No explanation was given for the
decision

Updated: Thursday, 09 Jul 2009, 4:20 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 09 Jul 2009, 12:00 PM EDT

* Melissa Holmes
* Posted by Emma Orn

WILSON, N.Y. (WIVB) – Two of three players in the Wilson High school hazing case have been acquitted on all charges. The controversial case focused on alleged horseplay on the team bus last year.

Thursday morning, Town Justice George R. Burger ruled finding the defendants not guilty of forcible touching, child endangerment and first-and second-degree hazing.

No explanation was given for the decision. The attorney for one of the players contacted News 4 this morning. “All it says is, it lists the counts and says not guilty,” said P. Andrew Vona, attorney for one of the players.

On Wednesday the vindicated teacher-coaches held a celebration and news conference on their acquittal, saying the overzealous investigation ruined their reputations.

We’ll have much more on this story on News 4 and on WIVB.com throughout the day.

****

New York State Police Press Release

Albany, NY -July, 9, 2009 – Statement from State Police Chief Inspector, Colonel Anthony Ellis regarding Town of Wilson hazing investigation:

“Allegations were made by Mr. Mike Paul, that the State Police conducted the investigation into the Wilson hazing allegations in an inappropriate manner. As a result of Mr. Paul’s allegations, a thorough and exhaustive incident review was conducted. The review found all investigative and police actions concerning this matter were in accordance with State Police Rules and Regulations. The review concluded that a thorough and proper investigation was conducted and the matter is now closed.

“State Police Investigators conducted a thorough and complete investigation into the Wilson hazing allegations. The arrests which followed were based on probable cause. The investigative file, sworn statements of witnesses and victims were submitted to the Niagara County District Attorney, who accepted the State Police investigation and proceeded with the case. This case was prosecuted according to the laws of the State of New York.”

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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