MIDDLETOWN — A Pennsylvania state attorney announced charges in juvenile court Tuesday against 10 students in connection with alleged hazing of high school football players that sparked cancellation of the team’s season.
Dauphin County prosecutors said two players from Middletown will be charged with attempted sexual assault and eight others face other charges in connection with the hazing that authorities say targeted at least six players between the ages of 14 and 17.
“This investigation was not just about hazing or ‘boys will be boys’ behavior,” Chief Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Gettle said in a news release from District Attorney Fran Chardo’s office. “On the contrary, two of these individuals committed repeated sexual assaults and encouraged others to participate under the guise of hazing.”
Superintendent Chelton Hunter previously said team members were in a high school facility being used for acclimatization practices when cell phone footage on Aug. 11 showed “a group of students restraining two of their teammates and using a muscle gun and another sports equipment’ to poke in the butt.
The players remained fully clothed and no penetration appeared to have taken place, he said, calling the video difficult to watch and the actions “completely unacceptable, offensive and highly inappropriate”.
Two 17-year-old students have been charged with attempted involuntary sexual intercourse, indecent assault, unlawful restraint, simple assault and hazing. 16-year-old charged with unlawful exposure, violence and hazing; three students – one 17 years old and two 16 years old – for illegal restriction of freedom and hazing; and four more, two aged 16 and two aged 17, for violating the hazing law, authorities said.
The head football coach resigned days after the video surfaced. The school administration said last month that it decided to cancel the 2022 football season after learning that there was a second video and that the number of players was larger than originally thought.