By: CBS Sports
November 9, 2018
Five members of a Maryland high school football team are facing various rape charges following an alleged locker room hazing incident on Halloween.
According to police reports obtained by the Washington Post, five boys from the Damascus High School junior varsity football team turned off the lights in the team's locker room before attacking four fellow teammates, pinning at least two of them down and assaulting them with broomsticks in a hazing ritual referred to as "brooming."
The police report detailing the attack provides a horrifying recap of the incident. From the Post:
The first victim, according to the police, said he was in the locker room about 2:30 p.m. when the lights went off. He said two teammates pushed him to the ground, with one holding his feet while both laughed. The victim said he shouted, "Let me go!" according to the report.
Another victim told investigators that he was in the locker room, saw the first boy attacked and then heard the attackers say they were coming after him. They held him facedown over a bench and assaulted him with a broomstick for about 10 seconds, according to the incident report.
Two other victims were physically assaulted and pinned to the ground, but were able to fend off the broom until the attack ceased due to a coach approaching the locker room.
Following the assault, the victims were visibly distraught and reduced to tears. One of the victims reportedly had trouble breathing and was ultimately checked on by one of the boys who attacked him. Each of the victims was aged 14 or 15.
The five boys charged in the incident are facing varying degrees of rape, with each of them being charged as juveniles. According to the Post, three 15-year-olds have been charged with two counts of second-degree rape, plus two counts of attempted second-degree rape. A fourth boy is charged with three counts of second-degree rape, while a fifth is charged with one count of second-degree rape.
According to a lawyer, if found guilty, punishment could involve the suspects "being placed in a facility — generally for six to nine months — or home detention with the teen electronically monitored or given an ankle monitor"
Police said that multiple suspects referred to the hazing as a tradition at the school, with one of them saying that they were also previously victimized by the same ritual. One of the victims in this attack said that "he heard about 'brooming,' but thought that it was a myth." School officials denied any knowledge of the ritual, but said they will look into whether there is a systematic problem with hazing.