The practice of hazing in which a new member or freshman is initiated into a group or sports team often involves humiliation and harassment and, in some cases, even abuse. When a Tennessee high school basketball team played in a tournament in Gatlinburg in December, a hazing session apparently resulted in a sexual assault charge being filed. Three teenagers are accused of playing a part in that incident.
Bond of $5,000 has been set for two 16-year-old boys, but it is unknown whether bond payments were made. As of the media report, a 17-year-old boy's bond had not yet been set. The two younger boys are accused of restraining a new teammate while the older boy sodomized the freshman with a pool cue. According to court documents in Sevier County, a restraining order was also filed that forbids the boys to go to the Ooltewah High School.
It was reported that the three accused players were removed from the basketball team following the accusations, and they were apparently also expelled from the high school. Authorities said the boys turned themselves in after they were charged, and they are apparently cooperating with investigators. They were charged with aggravated rape and assault. Further reports indicated that three team officials have also been charged with failing to report the incident to authorities.
A sexual assault charge can have devastating consequences if a conviction is ultimately secured in Tennessee. However, with the support and guidance of their respective legal counsels, the accused teens can challenge the accusations made by the prosecution. While three individuals have been charged, the accusations must be separately proved against each person. While the allegations are clearly horrific, each defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence before the court and is also accorded the right to pursue a result that is in his own best interests.
Source: newschannel9.com, "Details Revealed on Bond for Two Teen Suspects Charged in Ooltewah Rape Case", Jan. 15, 2016