Wall, NJ athlete charged in sex assault as hazing scandal hits football team
WALL — A student involved in an unfolding hazing scandal at Wall High School is facing a separate charge in an unrelated sexual assault case, New Jersey 101.5 has learned.
The reported lockerroom hazing came to light this week after NJ.com, citing parents involved in the investigation, reported that six upperclassmen athletes pinned down a younger athlete and threatened to sexually assault him with the handle of a mop or broom — an incident that was caught on video.
The investigation led to the district canceling its playoff game with Delsea on Friday night and the paid suspension of several coaches, who also serve as teachers, according to published reports.
But the accusations of lockerroom impropriety are not isolated. One of the implicated students has been accused of sexually assaulting at least one girl in an unrelated incident. That accused student has been released from custody. Because he is underage and has not been charged as an adult, neither New Jersey 101.5 nor law enforcement officials will publicly release his name.
The news in Wall resurfaces a similar criminal case in Sayreville, where hazing and sexual assault allegations against seven football players made national headlines in 2014.
The allegations led the superintendent to cancel the remainder of the football season. Six students were eventually sentenced to probation while the athletic director resigned and the head coach was reassigned after a suspension from his teaching duties.
What authorities in Monmouth have said
The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office has declined to comment on the pending investigations in Wall citing confidentiality rules meant to protect the privacy of underage defendants. That, however, could change if any of the students are hit with more serious juvenile offenses.
School officials have acknowledged the scandal but have not provided further details.
According to a letter from schools Superintendent Tracy Handerhan, the allegations of hazing among members of the Crimson Knight football team prompted an investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the cancellation of the game on the advice of the district's attorney and the county executive county superintendent.
"District and high school decision makers take the safety of our students and staff very seriously. There is no greater priority," Handerhan's letter to the community says.
The NJSIAA told New Jersey 101.5 that Delsea will be advanced to the final round of the South Jersey, Group 3 Tournament and will play the winner of the Cedar Creek/Somerville on Nov. 19.
The team’s annual Thanksgiving Day game with Manasquan is still on the schedule.
What happened in the Wall locker room?
The school and the Prosecutor’s Office are not discussing specifics of what happened because juveniles are involved and their records are confidential.
Parents who saw a video clip of the locker room incident told NJ.com that six older students “swarmed” a younger player who pleads with them to stop as he tried to fight back. One of the older students is holding a broomstick, the parents told NJ.com.
Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey asked anyone with information about the incident to call the Prosecutor's Office at 800 533 7443 or Monmouth County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-671-4400.