Hazing suspects face school sanctions if found guilty

Ashland High principal asks for police report on case, says policies address hazing and harassment

Three Ashland High School football players charged in a hazing incident and attempted sexual assault during a June training camp will face school sanctions if the charges are substantiated, Principal Michelle Zundel said Friday.

"There is a school policy about hazing and harassment," she said. "There are school and athletic consequences."

The Ashland School District's no-tolerance policy on hazing, harassment, intimidation, bullying, cyber-bullying and menacing at school or school-sponsored events states that violators "will be subject to discipline, up to and including expulsion."

"These allegations are serious," Zundel said, "and we are eager to get the facts of the case so we can address them as a school and a community."

A copy of the policy is available at www.mailtribune.com/ahs-bully-policy.

Zundel said she has requested a copy of the Ashland Police Department's report. Results of the six-month-long investigation were made public Thursday, with the police issuing a media release detailing charges against each of the unnamed minors.

The school suspended its own inquiry when Ashland police were alerted July 9 to the incidents, during which underclassmates were coerced and threatened into committing "embarrassing and degrading" acts in dorm rooms during a football training camp held June 21-24 at Linfield College in McMinnville, according to police.

There also were four attempts on three boys to sexually penetrate them with a finger.

Eighteen AHS players are potential witnesses to one or more of the incidents, police said.

The police interviewed 48 students and filed a 122-page summary and petition to the Jackson County District Attorney's Office.

A 17-year-old who was never enrolled in Ashland High School and who no longer lives in Ashland was arrested Tuesday on four counts of first-degree attempted sexual penetration with a finger and five counts of coercion, all felony charges.

The youth, whose name is being withheld because of his age, was lodged at Juvenile Services in Medford on Tuesday and released Wednesday morning. He has been provided with a public defender. He will probably be tried as a juvenile, the DA's office said Friday.

The three AHS football players were charged with five counts of coercion, a Class C felony. Two of the players were charged with conspiracy to attempt to commit unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree.

The players, whose names are being withheld because of their age, were cited and released. None had prior records, according to Juvenile Services.

Zundel said she appreciated Ashland police Chief Terry Holderness' statement Thursday that the investigation showed that the school did not have a history of hazing or sexual assault.

"We want to be clear," Zundel said. "This is not part of our culture."

Reach reporter Janet Eastman at 541-776-4465 or jeastman@mailtribune.com.

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