Hazing No Secret at Camp, Report Says

ByABC News
December 18, 2003, 6:45 AM

Dec. 18 -- As many as two-thirds of the high school athletes at a summer football camp knew some of their young teammates were undergoing vicious sexually abusive hazing, and even coaches were aware some form of hazing was going on, but they didn't suspect the severity of the attacks, according to a report today.

Three teenagers have admitted sodomizing three underclassmen with pinecones, broomsticks and golf balls, but according to the report in Newsday, there may have been more students involved and there was also a racial element to some of the hazing that occurred during the five days at a pre-season football camp in Pennsylvania last August.

According to court documents obtained by the newspaper, an 11th-grader told investigators he saw a fourth teenager sodomize one of the three victims. That boy, a sophomore, has not been charged.

A black player was allegedly also targeted with racial epithets during the camp, and the varsity players forced the three victims and other junior varsity players to put on white sheets and scream, "We're gonna lynch you, " and "the Klan is back," the newspaper said witnesses told investigators.

Sources told the newspaper other students are being investigated and could face charges in the case.

The hazing began almost as soon as the players from Mepham High School in Bellmore, N.Y., reached the camp in Preston Park, Pa., and escalated throughout the five days, the paper reported, citing documents and interviews with witnesses and school officials.

Younger students who witnessed the assaults were too scared to come forward, fearing they would become victims, according to the report.

One boy who was in one of the two cabins where the assaults occurred described trying to hide in his bed, hoping the older athletes wouldn't notice him and make him one of the victims.

"I was in the bunk and I laid so flat, hoping they wouldn't see me flat and straight, hoping they wouldn't see me," the boy said, a source close to the investigation told Newsday.

But like all the others who reportedly were aware something wrong was happening, he did not tell anyone.

"No one had the strength to come forward," one school official told Newsday.