Saturday, October 11, 2014

Seven players charged with sexual assault in New Jersey high school football hazing: Report

Seven players from a New Jersey football team have been charged with sex crimes in connection with a series of assaults stemming from an investigation into hazing by team members. The alleged attacks of a sexual nature have already led to the cancellation of the rest of the school's football season.

Six of the seven Sayreville War Memorial High School players, ranging in age from 15 to 17, were arrested Friday night, and the seventh was being sought, police and prosecutors said.

The scandal has rocked and divided the working class town in central New Jersey.

Three of the players were charged with aggravated sexual assault, criminal restraint, hazing and other crimes for an act of sexual penetration upon one of the children, Middlesex County prosecutor Andrew C. Carey said. The four other students were charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact and other crimes, reported

The group is charged with attacking four other members of the regional football power, on four separate occasions between Sept. 19 and Sept. 29, authorities said. Their investigation found that the students held other teens against their will and improperly touched them in a sexual manner. 

One of the victims was kicked during an attack, police said.

The seven teenagers charged in the hazing scandal — their identities withheld because of their ages —are to appear before a Superior Court judge who oversees criminal cases involving juvenile defendants who are under the age of 18.

Teenagers who are tried and found guilty of charges under the state’s juvenile delinquency statutes face lesser penalties than an adult. In fact, juveniles who remain in juvenile court don’t go to prison, but are incarcerated at juvenile justice facilities or detention centers in the state. They may even be spared any detention time.

The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, however, could ask a judge to “waive” them to adult  —criminal court where the juveniles would be charged and tried as adults.

According to, there are significant sentencing differences in juvenile versus adult court:

• Aggravated sexual assault: Under juvenile delinquency code carries no more than five years incarceration, but the first degree crime carries up to 20 years in prison if convicted in adult court.

• Aggravated assault: Under juvenile delinquency code carries 60 days to a year, but if it is a second degree crime in adult court it can carry up to 10 years in prison.

• Criminal restraint and aggravated criminal sexual contact: Under juvenile delinquency code carry no more than 60 days incarceration, but as third degree crime in adult court carry sentences of 3 to 5 years in prison.

• Hazing and riot are fourth degree crimes that presume no incarceration for juveniles but could result in up to 16 months in prison for adults.

The juveniles would also have criminal records if convicted of the crimes in adult court and could be registered as sex offenders under Megan’s Law.

No court dates have been scheduled, according to the prosecutor’s office.

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