ASHLAND, Ore. — Police said a student who was not part of the Ashland High School football team instigated sexual hazing by several football team mates. Investigators know of at least four underclassman who were victimized.
Four Ashland High School football players are facing sexual assault charges stemming from a reported incident at a football camp over the summer. This investigation started in July with an anonymous phone call from a parent, saying the hazing happened in June while the Ashland High School football team was at a football camp at Linfield College in McMinville.
Police say the sexual assault incidents occurred at that camp. One student who went to an alternative school in Ashland was traveling with the team. Police describe him as an at-risk youth who was the “instigator” in the sexual hazing. The coach allowed this student to practice with the players to try to give him a more stable environment. Police say that student got upperclassman football players to make several underclassman boys perform degrading acts.
“Embarrassing and degrading and certainly something they would rather not do, and they would not have done, except they wanted to part of the group and wanted to be accepted members of the team and what not,” explained Ashland Police Sgt. Tighe O’Meara.
Police said the student who started the hazing also attempted unlawful sexual penetration on the victims. That student was arrested on Tuesday and has been released. The other students were cited and released. They are all expected in juvenile court next week.
The superintendent said they plan to do their own investigation with appropriate consequences regarding the students. She also adds this incident does not mean the football team has had a tradition or pattern of hazing in its football program.