HS wrestlers stripped, threatened to assault teammate with broomstick, cops say
PITTSGROVE — The wrestling team at a South Jersey high school is under investigation for an alleged hazing incident.
Salem County Prosecutor John Lenahan said four members of the Schalick High School stripped a student in the shower, restrained the student and threatened to assault the student with a broomstick. State Police are in the "beginning stages" of the investigation, according to Lenahan's statement.
It wasn't immediately clear from a statement released by the prosecutor's office whether the wrestlers allegedly threatened to sexually assault their teammate or threatened to beat him. The incident recalls a 2015 scandal in which Sayreville football players were found to have engaged in brutal hazing, including using their fingers to sexually penetrate teammates.
The students are charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, criminal restraint, conspiracy to commit criminal restraint, hazing, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, conspiracy to possess a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon and conspiracy to unlawfully possess a weapon.
The identities of the students involved were not disclosed. The names of underage defendants are usually not publicly released. Lenahan declined to answer additional questions about the incident.
In a statement, Pittsgrove schools Superintendent Scott Hoopes said the administration became aware of "certain events, which apparently transpired in connection the high school wrestling program."
Hoopes said "corrective action" had already been taken against students and staff and additional action was being considered. He said the issue was dealt with "promptly and appropriately."
He wrote that he wanted to make clear "participation in sports and extra curricular activities present no special risk to any student."
The team is scheduled to open its season on Saturday against Shawnee High School. No changes to that schedule have been announced.
The school has an enrollment of nearly 600, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.