Five players at Wheaton College in Illinois are facing felony charges after allegedly hazing a freshman on the team in the spring of 2016.
Given the allegations, the word hazing is way too nice of a characterization to use. The player, who the Chicago Tribune didn’t name, told police he was tackled by a group of players and had his hands and feet duct-tape cuffed as he was watching the NCAA tournament in his dorm room. This is what allegedly happened next after they put a pillowcase over his head and carried him to a car.
At one point, the players suggested to the freshman that he had been kidnapped by Muslims who wanted to fornicate with goats, the teen told investigators. They patted his foot and suggested he would be their “goat” for the evening, the records said.
The freshman told investigators that his teammates restrained him with more duct tape during the drive, pulled down his shorts and underwear, then repeatedly tried to insert an object into his rectum. After the freshman yelled at them to stop, he was beaten, he said.
The players drove to a park located off campus and carried the freshman onto a baseball diamond, according to his account. The players threw dirt on the teen, took his cell phone and left him half-naked on the field, he said.
The alleged victim suffered shoulder injuries in the incident and has had two surgeries. He’s no longer a student at the school and told police the incident has been “devastating.”
Wheaton players James Cooksey, Kyler Kregel, Benjamin Pettway, Noah Spielman and Samuel TeBos had arrest warrants signed in their names on Monday. The five players are facing charges of aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint.
Spielman is the son of former Ohio State linebacker and current Fox Sports broadcaster Chris Spielman.
The school said it was “deeply troubled” by the charges. It’s an interesting way to describe the reaction to the charges, as Wheaton stated it “took swift action” to conduct an independent investigation into the incident after finding out about it last year.
Three of the players charged played in the team’s game on Saturday.
Wheaton College aspires to provide an educational environment that is not only free of hazing, but practices our values as a Christian community. As such, we are deeply troubled by the allegations brought by law enforcement against five members of our football team. When this incident was brought to our attention by other members of the football team and coaching staff in March 2016, the College took swift action to initiate a thorough investigation. Our internal investigation into the incident, and our engagement with an independent, third-party investigator retained by the College, resulted in a range of corrective actions. We are unable to share details on these disciplinary measures due to federal student privacy protections.
The College has fully cooperated with law enforcement in their investigation. To not impede the law enforcement investigation, the College was bound by confidentiality and unable to share more information until now.
The conduct we discovered as a result of our investigation into this incident was entirely unacceptable and inconsistent with the values we share as human beings and as members of an academic community that espouses to live according to our Community Covenant. We are profoundly saddened that any member of our community could be mistreated in any way. This incident has prompted our Board of Trustees to engage outside experts to lead a campus-wide review of the level of effectiveness of our anti-hazing policy and of the culture around how students treat one another in our campus communities, athletic teams, and organizations. Wheaton remains committed to providing Christ-centered development programs and training to all our students.
Wheaton is currently 3-0 and ranked No. 4 in Division III.
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