Monday, December 19, 2011

Shades Of Carmel Sexual Assault At Mishawaka High School

Carmel High School officials and Hamilton County prosecutors and police haven't had a very good track record when it comes to taking serious the hazing activities of student athletes that amount to sexual assault. It now looks like a strikingly similar sexual assault involving members of the high school wrestling team at Mishawaka High School occurred almost two years ago and officials are only now getting around to taking action. ABC 57 News reports that a 15-year-old member of the high school wrestling team says five of his teammates forcibly sodomized him nearly two years ago. School officials, including the team's coach, Darrick Snyder, reportedly failed to notify law enforcement authorities of the sexual assault after it was first reported to him. Snyder has now been placed on suspension and one of the team members who allegedly committed the assault was arrested last Friday and is being held at a juvenile detention center. The 15-year-old victim claims the teammates forcibly penetrated him with a broom stick at a wrestling camp in January, 2010.

The South Bend Tribune says the youth arrested in connection with the alleged sexual assault, who is now 17, will be handled as a juvenile offender. He faces an upcoming delinquency hearing to determine if evidence is sufficient to hold him. No action has been taken against the four other suspects, who are 15-year-old and 16-year-old students, respectively, although the case remains under investigation according the St. Joseph Co. Special Victims Unit told the Tribune..

Carmel High School was plagued by allegations that senior members of its high school basketball team had forcibly sodomized a freshman basketball team member in the school's locker room and on a team bus returning from a basketball game back in 2010 near the same time the incident in Mishawaka is alleged to have taken place. School officials and prosecutors drug their feet on investigating the allegations. Although the accused players were eventually charged with lesser offenses, more serious sexual assault charges were not brought against them some argued in order to protect the players because they came from prominent families. Former Hamilton Co. Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp, who handled part of the case, similarly declined to bring charges against members of the high school swimming team who were accused years earlier of sexually assaulting a young team member with a broom stick.

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