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Tallmadge update

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The Summit County Prosecutor has decided to refer the case of two Tallmadge High School football players facing rape-related charges stemming from a hazing incident, to the Ohio Attorney Generals Office.

Laurie Cramer, spokeswoman for the Summit prosecutor’s office, said that in order to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest, a request was made for a special prosecutor.

”A child of one of our assistant prosecutors is a Tallmadge football player and is a potential witness,” Cramer explained.

A spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s office would only confirm that it is now handling the case.

Two football players face rape-related felony charges stemming from the alleged hazing of a teammate in August, which took place on school property between two-a-day practices. Police records indicate that during the hazing incident an object was placed into the victim’s rectum.

The accused are a 16-year-old junior charged with first-degree felony delinquency by rape plus a misdemeanor count of hazing, and a 17-year-old senior who is charged with first-degree felony delinquency to commit rape and one count of hazing. The two face expulsion and have been suspended from school and the team.

In addition, four other football players, who are accused of taking part in the hazing, received 10-day suspensions. There are no criminal charges against the four.

Attorneys for the two players who have been charged have entered ”not true (not guilty) pleas in Summit County Juvenile Court. A pretrial hearing set for late yesterday afternoon was canceled after the case was assigned to the special prosecutor. No new court dates have been set.

The Beacon Journal generally does not publish the names of juvenile offenders.

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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