Hazing News

Update on Ohio Huber Heights incident

Here is the story link to Dayton Daily News

Last month, two Wayne students were convicted of assault in juvenile court for sexually violating a freshman at school, according to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s office and Huber Heights police records.

One of the juniors and two witnesses told police they were subjected to similar bullying when they were freshmen.

But both Huber Heights City Schools Superintendent Bill Kirby and Wayne Principal Reva Cosby said their internal investigation into the incident found no evidence that hazing or bullying was endemic in the high school.

The 14-year-old victim’s parents told the Dayton Daily News that school staff should have known this was going on and should have done more to prevent it from happening.

Kirby said their investigation determined that some students occasionally took part in unacceptable horseplay, including one activity students called “gooching” in which they would inappropriately touch students’ backsides by sliding their fingers down the students’ pants. “We have taken measures to inform our students that it is an inappropriate behavior,” he said.

How it started

On Nov. 15, the victim, a freshman who planned to try out for Wayne’s baseball team, told police he was spotting another student while training when the weights slipped and fell, and a 17-year-old upperclassman admonished the freshman for his mistake.

In response, the freshman told the older student not to talk to him like that, leading several older students to warn the freshman that he was wrong to talk back to upperclassmen.

On Nov. 22, the upperclassman who admonished the freshman and another 17-year-old student grabbed the victim as he stood in the hallway outside the gym, forced him into a corner and at least one student sexually violated him, according to police.

At least one other 17-year-old student witnessed the event, laughed and jumped up and down in amusement, according to the police officer who reviewed the school’s surveillance footage of the incident.

Later that night, the freshman’s father said he noticed his son was upset, and after confronting him, he learned about the assault. The family met with school officials and notified police.

Charges of first-degree rape by force were originally considered against the two juniors. But on Feb. 1, the teens pleaded guilty to lesser offenses in Juvenile Court, according to prosecutor’s spokesman Greg Flanagan.

Flanagan said one of the teens pleaded guilty to second-degree felony assault and received a suspended jail sentence at a youth services facility. The other teen pleaded guilty to first-degree misdemeanor assault and received probation. They both spent 10 days in juvenile detention and were forbidden from being members of the Wayne baseball team. The district also suspended the pair from school for 10 days, Kirby said.

The students who witnessed the attack were briefly suspended, but they were not forbidden from playing baseball, according to the victim’s parents. Superintendent Kirby said it is inappropriate to discuss the students’ disciplinary action.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

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 current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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