Original Case Details
This is a follow up blog to a previous blog we posted. You can read that blog here. The Warren De La Salle High School Football team is under heavy fire now as seven of its members have now been charged due to this ongoing hazing scandal. These seven players are accused of hazing two younger players on the team. Multiple sources have stated that the older players held down the two younger players and sexually taunted them with a broomstick. There is no evidence of any penetration of the victims. The Prosecutor’s Office initially declined to pursue criminal charges as they didn’t feel like they had enough evidence to go forward. The correct victims did not initially come forward until it was learned that the Prosecutor’s Office was likely not going to pursue charges.
Where Are We Now?
From the outset of this case, school officials along with prosecutors have felt something bad happened regarding this case, but they were never able to prove it until these new victims have stepped forward. Five of the defendants have been charged as adults with assault and battery. The other two have been charged as juveniles. While this is a hazing situation, none of these boys have been charged with actual hazing. It would appear that the reason a hazing charge is not appropriate in this case because a hazing charge requires a physical injury to the victim. An assault & battery charge does not require any physical injury. It doesn’t even require actual contact. The maximum possible penalty here for the boys charged as adults is up to 93 days in Macomb County jail, along with fines of up to $500. There have been consequences outside of court as a result of this situation. The Warren De La Salle High School Football coach was fired, and the team forfeited the rest of their season on the eve of the playoffs due to this hazing scandal. It remains to be seen what the defenses are for these boys, if they don’t plan on making a deal. Two of the boys charged actually recently settled a lawsuit with the school that they filed, alleging unfair treatment and discrimination based on race. The boys, both African American, argued that it was unfair they were kicked out of school while this investigation was ongoing. The white students being investigated were allowed to remain in school while they were being investigated.
How Hazing Can Be Criminal
Certain types of hazing can be generally harmless and are just traditions that athletic teams have. Things such as bringing the team donuts or carrying an upperclassman’s bag don’t typically set off any alarms related to hazing. But when the requirements are meant to physically harm or humiliate those that are being hazed, then an immature act can turn into criminal charges pretty quickly. An actual charge for hazing isn’t the only outcome for a hazing incident. As you see with the present case, the boys alleged to be involved are charged with assault & battery, not hazing. Any potential criminal charges are on the table, however, when a prosecutor reads through a hazing incident report. Charges such as kidnapping, aggravated assault, and felonious assault are commonly examined if there are injuries or the alleged facts are way outside the norm.
Any Further Questions?
If you or a loved one is being investigated for hazing or have already been charged with an offense related to hazing, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.