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High-School Football Season Canceled Amid Allegations of Sexual Assault and Hazing

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Nov 09, 2022 | 0 Comments

Students, parents, cheerleaders, marching band members, and faculty members—there are a lot of heartbroken folks in Middletown, PA this fall. That's because the superintendent of the Middletown Area School District canceled the high school football season following accusations of sexual misconduct and hazing leveled against nearly a dozen students.

What Led to the Season Cancellation?

Just as practices were ramping up in August of this year, ahead of the fall sport, cellphone footage surfaced that showed “a group of students restraining two of their teammates and using a muscle therapy gun and another piece of athletic equipment” to poke their buttocks.

Superintendent Chelton Hunter called the video “disturbing and upsetting” and described the actions it captured as hazing. The incident took place in the high school's turf room, used for heat acclimation practice sessions.

What Were the Consequences?

The school district announced shortly after the video was discovered that it would be mounting its own investigation. Meanwhile, Dauphin County prosecutors announced that charges had been filed against the ten students accused of hazing activity against six football players, ranging in age from 14 to 17.

Two of the accused football team members face charges of criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, unlawful restraint, simple assault, and hazing. Another eight students were charged with hazing and other non-sexual crimes.

The team's coach resigned almost immediately following the release of the video footage. Later, after a second video surfaced, showing that more students were involved than authorities had realized, the district decided to cancel the upcoming season.

What's At Stake In Incidents Like This?

You might think that because this incident involved high school students, it's "just hazing"—a regular part of the growing up experience. Former college students or fraternity members could be more apt to discount the behavior as a time-honored ritual that plenty of people, including themselves, have undergone.

However, hazing—at least the type described in reports of this incident—is very much criminal in nature.

These actions are taken very seriously by law enforcement, as the charges being filed make crystal clear. When students of any age engage in hazing that meets the standard of criminal behavior, however, they may also face serious consequences from the educational institution where they study, whether high school, college, or university. Even if they are acquitted of criminal charges or if those charges are dismissed for some reason, the school may well take disciplinary steps, up to and including suspension or even dismissal.

Count On the Lento Law Firm

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm have unparalleled experience helping kids and young adults who are accused of misconduct. No matter what the charge, they will do everything in their power to negotiate with the D.A.'s office, investigate the possibility of pretrial diversionary programs, prepare the student for their upcoming hearing with the Student Conduct Board, prepare them for or accompany them to hearings, and to give the student the best possible opportunity to learn from their mistakes and redeem themselves.

If you or your child has gotten mixed up in a misconduct incident, click here to send us a brief description of the case, or call us at 1-888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!

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