Five Plano High students charged after alleged assaults on teammates
By Steve Lord firstname.lastname@example.org August 28, 2013 10:16AM
Plano High School in Plano | Steve Lord~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 30, 2013 7:39AM
Five Plano High School students have been charged with sexual assault and battery in what could be a case of ongoing sports team hazing at the school.
The five, all boys, were younger than 17 years old at the time of the incidents and are all charged with criminal sexual assault, aggravated battery and unlawful restraint, said Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis.
The five students were arrested Tuesday night and held overnight in the Kane County Juvenile Detention Center west of St. Charles. They appeared Wednesday morning before a juvenile court judge in Kendall County to decide if they would stay in the youth home or be released to their parents.
Weis said the students were charged in connection with multiple incidents that took place in August 2012 and February of this year, involving three victims. Both the alleged offenders and victims were members of the same sports teams and not randomly selected students, police said.
Weis said there could be more incidents and more victims, and that the crimes might have been part of ongoing hazing rituals involving the high school’s football and boys basketball teams.
“There are indications incidents could have occurred before August 2012,” Weis said. “It’s possible other victims could come forward.”
For that reason, Weis and Plano Police Chief Steve Eaves said the investigation started by the Plano Police Department that resulted in the arrests remains open.
Weis confirmed that the incidents involved multiple students holding another student down. One of the offenders would then penetrate the victim with a finger.
He said only one of the youths charged did the penetrating, while the others participated by holding the victims down.
“It doesn’t appear to be a sexually motivated crime,” Weis said. “It’s dominance, humiliation … this would be on the extreme end of hazing incidents I have heard of or dealt with.”
Eric Benson, Plano High School principal, said he thought the incidents were contained to the ones reported, and not part of an ongoing problem. But he admitted Wednesday morning he did not know all the details of the investigation yet.
“I’m not sure if this is completely a hazing,” he said. “If that is the case, we’ve all been held in the dark for a while.”
Benson said the high school has taken measures to increase supervision in locker rooms and throughout the entire school, and did so immediately after an incident was first reported seven months ago.
Eaves confirmed that he talked to the principal, as well as Plano School District Superintendent Hector Garcia, as soon as the incident was reported in February to make sure “steps have been taken to make the situation safer.”
Benson said the school increased the visibility of adults in the locker rooms and made sure coaches were present at all times. He also said camera systems throughout the high school were changed to improve overall security.
“We have assured the staff ... supervision is secured,” he said.
According to Weis, the investigation began in February of this year when a parent of one of the victims reported the situation to the Plano police. That seven-month investigation resulted in the arrests Tuesday night.
Eaves called the situation “shocking to all of us.”
“But it has to be remembered, these are juveniles,” he said. “They made a mistake. Juvenile law is based on correcting the behavior. The first thing people need to know is that steps have been taken, that the school is safe.”
The investigation remains ongoing and individuals or victims with information are encouraged to call the Plano Police Department at 630-552-8275.