“Two held him down, while the third penetrated his rectum with a broom handle,” officials said. “That’s over 400 pounds of senior holding down this freshman.”
The football players at Conestoga High School had a nickname for the rituals they performed each week, “No-Gay Thursday.” The Chester County district attorney announced charges against the students and called out the coaching staff for a “shocking lack of supervision.”
Philly.com explores this disturbing story in detail.
The hazing at the elite Chester County public school, routinely ranked near the top academically in national ratings, escalated into assault one day last fall, authorities said Friday. The assault took place in October, said Thomas P. Hogan, the Chester County district attorney.The victim later told his father, who reported the assault to the school last month. The victim has since left the school. Hogan said the victim does not have permanent physical damage but faces psychological effects.
Police charged the three seniors, all 17 at the time, as juveniles with assault, unlawful restraint, making terroristic threats, and related offenses.
Hogan said the three were not charged with a sexual offense because “from our perspective, it’s a physical assault and not a sex crime.” He added that the decision was made after consulting with the victim and his family.
The case is the second at Conestoga this school year to draw county prosecutors’ attention. In November, three boys were accused of harassment for distributing sexually explicit photos of a 13-year-old classmate. One of those alleged assailants is the boy allegedly assaulted by the senior football players, but Hogan said no evidence suggested a connection.
Hogan said upperclassmen on the football team had held No-Gay Thursdays for at least the last three years.
Upperclassmen put their genitals on younger students’ heads and ground their bodies against their legs. They also forced younger students to strip to their underwear and clean the locker room, which is what happened just before the assault, Hogan said.
Chester County authorities paint a shocking picture of a hazing culture they say was created by members of the high school varsity football team three or four years ago.
The premise was that on Thursday when the locker room was unsupervised anything that was normally considered gay was not so.
Hazing is a crime in Pennsylvania, but it applies only to colleges, not high schools. A bill pending in the state legislature would extend the anti-hazing statute to high schools and private sports leagues.
Outsports buttoned it up best, ‘Hazing is a disturbing form of violence, power and status in close-knit groups like sports teams, the military and fraternities. Homophobia is also a contributing factor since many rituals involve something of a same-sex sexual nature considered to be taboo. “No Gay Thursdays” is homophobia of the worst kind.”