7 New Jersey High School Teens Face Sex Crime Charges
Parlin, N.J. – According to the school’s superintendent, abuse by the Sayreville War Memorial High School students was so pervasive he had no other option but to call off the season for a team that has won 3 sectional titles in 4 years. His decision made team parents angry but the advocates were happy who called it the kind of bold stand which is important to solve the issue.
No coaches have been charged for the incident and it is not clear if anyone had information about the incidents. On Saturday in his first public comments, head coach George Najjar told the Star-Ledger of Newark that he will comment on the allegations but that “now is not the time”. According to the authorities, the allegations involved attacks on 4 students in a time period of 10 days in the last month. On Friday, 6 defendants were taken into custody and the 7th surrendered on Saturday. Their names were not released by the officers.
According to Middlesex County prosecutor Andrew C. Carey, sodomy was involved in one of the attacks upon one of the alleged victims.
Superintendent Richard Labbe said in a statement on the arrests that the district will “come together as a school district and greater community to harness the strength required to support the young men who may have been victimized and then to begin the healing process for our beloved community”.
The founder of the New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention, Stuart Green, praised Labbe’s decision as it can alter the problem of bullying. He felt sorry for those who feel it unfair to punish the whole team but he said that the responsibility for such conduct generally extends beyond the individual players. He added, “When these problems arise they’re never primarily a function of the individual kids or players. These problems primarily arise because of the behaviors of the adults and leaders who manage these environments”.
The offenders were taken into custody 4 days after the rest of the season was called off. On Tuesday at an emotional school board meeting, some players denied seeing any of the alleged incidents happening and one parent said the cancellation “victimizes the kids who had nothing to do with it”.
It is said that Mepham High School on New York’s Long Island canceled its 2003 season after reports of alleged sexual assaults by upperclassmen on younger players during a preseason trip to Pennsylvania. But executive director of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, Steve Timko said that he couldn’t recall any seasons being cancelled due to the hazing-related allegations in his 38 years involved with scholastic sports in the state.
Brendan Dwyer, assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center For Sport Leadership and a former college football coach said, “Getting to the root of the problem is difficult when victims, for the most part, are trying to become part of an inner group. They’re willing to be part of a hazing ritual if they’re going to be accepted on a team”.
For Sunday night, an anti-bullying rally was scheduled in the park across the street from the high school. Holly Emory, whose son has played for the team since the last 2 years, said that the parents have asked those attending not to wear Bombers gear so they don’t “pour salt in the wound”.
According to Emory, playing high school football has given her 15-year-old son an obvious confidence that was not there prior to playing and she hopes the allegations aren’t true. She added, “All the things that you sign your kids up for sports for, we witnessed in the past two years”.
News Source: www.CSMonitor.com