Sunday, February 28, 2010

Media's Memory On Carmel High School Short

Local media and Carmel High School parents have expressed shock at the sexual abuse allegations of senior members of Carmel High School's boys basketball team against freshmen team members. The current story involves allegations that several seniors on the basketball team stripped the pants off of two freshmen team members on a bus while returning from a trip to Terre Haute in January and fingered their anus. A separate but similar allegation has been made by a freshman who says he was sexually assaulted by another senior on the boys basketball team in early January. What the local news media has missed is a similar assault that occurred several years back to a freshman on the school's swim team. Several seniors stripped a freshman swimmer in the locker room and took turns shoving objects up his anus.

As bizarre as this behavior may seem, this type of activity is probably less uncommon than what you might think. I recall reading several years ago in a magazine article about strange hazing methods at elite private schools, particularly all boys schools. A common form of hazing is to strip a freshman of his clothes and finger him. I guess you have to come from a privileged, elitist background to think that such actions are acceptable. I couldn't imagine something like this happening at the public school I attended.

It seems to me that Carmel school officials have blatantly turned a blind eye to these activities over the years. The swim team incident put them on notice that there might be a problem and yet the problem persists after all these years. I credit the local media digging into the story for any action being taken at all. The three coaches on the bus filled with freshman bear some culpability for allowing the three seniors to ride on the freshmen bus and managing not to notice that two freshmen were being sexually assaulted by the seniors. The principal didn't take the allegations seriously until he realized the media was going to report on it. He claims he didn't know about the incidents until nearly a month after they occurred. Yet, almost every student at the school had heard stories about it for weeks. If I were the Carmel school board, I would be thinking seriously about firing the coaches and the principal. One expects more of the administrators at the state's most elite public school.

UPDATE: A reader raises a valid issue over whether Carmel police have jurisdiction over the alleged crimes. The incident occurred on I-70 shortly after the bus left the Cloverdale exit. I'm sure school administrators prefer having Carmel police investigate it rather than the State Police or the jurisdiction where the crime actually occurred. If the victims' parents don't like the police handling of this case, they may want to raise the jurisdiction issue.

19 comments:

XQRX912 said...

It is possible for there to be multiple county jurisdiction as this is possibly a conspiracy that began in Hamilton county. The "boys" are nominees for the "Sports Builds Character" awards

dcrutch said...

Please correct my recollection if I'm wrong: Wasn't there an incident in the (prior?) winter in Carmel in which a student died, initially from an alleged slip on the sidewalk, then finally the story came out about making contact with a school bus? Carmel's not alone with this stuff. Washington Township was not forthcoming with everything when a child was hit by a bus at an elementary school last year. The bus driver contended that the school was warned about the drop-off layout, but was fired or reprimanded after a suppossedly independent investigation. Warren Central has had sexual assault at their school and was not forthcoming.

We need help, legislative or otherwise, to get ALL incidents of interest shared with parents and taxpayers, not just the good news, or their should be consequences. My child trying to bring home the papers only with the good grades seems less onerous now.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I just don't get the concept of hazing. I played high school sports. If someone did to me what those seniors (allegedly) did to those freshmen, there would be consequences for those players down the road when I found one of them alone. I sure wouldn't have used what happened an excuse to do the same thing to innocent. Freshmen when I became a Senior.

Maybe that's why I never pledged a fraternity. The minute they pulled some of that perverted hazing on me, I would have fought back rather than take it. I'm glad that these Freshman didn't want to take what happened to them as okay.

indyobserver44 said...

If someone did to me what those seniors (allegedly) did to those freshmen, there would be consequences for those players down the road when I found one of them alone.

Gee, Paul, you sound really tough!

spooknp said...

People don't realize that K-12 corporations can be just as corrupt and self-serving as any private corporation. All our private schools are nothing more than private business corporations providing "education" with a government backed monopoly over certain geographic areas. School corporations are way, way too big.

It obvious what happened here, and for all those schools who want to label this stuff as "kids being kids," they really can't sit there with stunned looks upon their faces when some kid brings a gun to school and starts killing fellow students, teachers, and yes, even administrators. I can't believe that after Columbine we still have K-12 admin types who want to bury their head in the sand when it comes to things like this. It seems sports is responsible for all the ills our of K-12 public schools: Budgets, cliques, bullying, etc..

As far as jurisdiction, a police officer in Indiana has jurisdiction anywhere. The Carmel PD could always forward their findings to another county prosecutor and testify in that county. That being said, I am wondering if ISP or another agency isn't investigating as well.

guy77money said...

The administration of Carmel better wake up! An act as humilating and degrading as this could easily cause a kid to go over the edge and retaliate with violent force. Imagine one of these freshman getting hold of a gun or a knife and deciding to get back at one or more of these idiots. The coaches and the principal better have air tight alibis or I agree they all should be fired.

Indy4U2C said...

Gary you have a good point. Hamilton Co is known for "making things disappear" in what appears to be a "good old boy" network and/or a "money can fix it" pattern of activity....remember the Hamilton Co drunk driving principal who made a cell phone call while stopped by police and instead of a trip to jail and a breath test, received a courtesy ride home?

Carmel PD has NO VENUE on this one. The alleged acts took place outside of Hamilton Co. If the parents of the victims have want to see justice, they should insist that the State Police take over!!!

If these events took place in Putnam Co, I doubt that Carmel PD would travel the distance to file a charge, or even have a prosecutor review their redacted version of events.

Indy4U2C said...

Look at the COVER-UP and failure to charge the RICH Hamilton Co teen (family is rich) who shot his own brother in a fit of rage last month!

--Does that tell you what Hamilton Co is about???

Paul K. Ogden said...

IndyObserver, "tough?" I wouldn't say that. I don't think I'm any different than anyone else who played sports at my high school. There is a weird culture at Carmel H.S.

Advance Indiana said...

I'm surprised the IHSAA has not launched in investigation of the basketball team. You will find many recruiting violations there if you do a little digging.

Indy Student said...

Gary, I heard on WIBC that they won't initiate their own investigation since it happened on buses and in locker rooms at the high school. That doesn't rule out future actions from IHSAA, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Nick said...

This kind of behavior is indeed common. A friend of mine told me that when he played high school basketball, the players would penetrate each other with their fingers while in the locker room. He called it "horse play" and didn't seem to have a problem with it (or even being done to him)...and he was one of those typical tough jocks who made fun of the gay students.

At my high school, there were incidents of hazing, especially of the younger players. I remember hearing stories about how the freshman and sophomore players on the swim team were held down and urinated on by the older players. The coaches knew and didn't care.

Flipper said...

Gary,
This is kinda like you never hear of an assault or rape at a Simon Mall.
Such a selective news media especially the Ryerson Rag

Advance Indiana said...

Towel flipping in the locker room was the worst thing I can recall happening at my school.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Nick,

What perverted high school did you go to? I played varsity sports and I assure you that hazing did not go on at my school.

Had Enough Indy? said...

The bus had adults on it who were supposed to be responsible for the safety of the students. You cannot tell me that those adults did not know what was going on. They should be on suspension pending a dismissal hearing. Any word on ANY move to hold them responsible?

bing said...

Paul,

Don't confuse my comments on Indiana Barrister with the person using the "Nick" on this forum.

His comments strike me as very strange.

Mdberggren said...

I don't think that we should jump on every blunder that students make as a reason to bash Hamilton County and Carmel. I wouldn't say this kind of thing is common, but it's not uncommon. I don't see it as a reason to judge the rest of the 4000 students at the school for being well off.

I went to Carmel for two years. Then I switched to a private school with students from all over the state. Let me tell you that the Carmel students overall are much higher caliber than the others. Not to mention I played freshman football for Carmel without hearing about any incidents whatsoever.

jen said...

I am appalled at the behavior of the pricipal and coaches. They should be fired immediately. They were responsible for protecting these children and instead tried to protect the perpetrators. I am sickened by this. I have two sons and if this had happened to them I wouldnt rest until these adults where prosecuted.