Players Charged with Rape

November 5, 2018

In Maryland, five teenagers have been charged with second-degree rape of junior varsity football players at Damascus High School. According to IOL, the alleged attacks took place last Wednesday, after school let out, and involved four juvenile male victims.

The five teens, who were arrested, charged and processed on Thursday night, have not been identified. While the police did not say whether they were on the football team, school official said the allegations concerned junior varsity football players attacking other players in a hazing ritual.

Paul Zmuda, a Rockville defense attorney and former prosecutor, said teenagers or juveniles convicted of second-degree rape could be placed in a facility for six to nine months, or could be allowed to stay with their families if they wear an ankle monitor.

"The juvenile system, in general, doesn't like locking kids up who are under 16 unless they'd done something really serious," Zmuda said.

Sunil Dasgupta, chair of the health and safety committee of Montgomery's countywide council of Parent Teacher Associations, expressed concern about Damascus' safety education and coach training program, as well as a desire for more transparency.

"If this is true and 14- and 15-year-olds are doing this, I can't imagine that there is not a general environment that allows them this latitude," he said. "What is the culture in athletic departments, what is the safety education, what are the preventative measures?"

On Thursday, Casey Crouse, Principal of Damascus High School, wrote a letter saying that the alleged behavior was "upsetting and unacceptable,” and would not be tolerated. He also said that the junior varsity team would forfeit the last game of the season, which was also on Thursday.

Lynn Harris, a teacher at the school and president of the countywide PTA, condemned the alleged assaults.

"Hazing is one thing, but these allegations are about sexual assault," she said.

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