A District Attorney in Pennsylvania has taken the extraordinary step of scribing a public letter blasting anyone and everyone who thinks for a moment that members of the Conestoga High School football team did not engage in forced rape of other members of the team.
Chester County DA Tom Hogan wrote a six-page letter detailing specifics of the case and the culture that tries to force victims of illegal sports hazing to stay quiet. He even went the extra step of having the publication of the letter approved by a court (which he got). The letter was co-signed by First Assistant District Attorney Michael Noone, Chief of Detectives Kevin Dykes and Lieutenant of Detectives Michael McGinnis.
If you don’t know the case, one freshman accused upper classmen of holding him down and sodomizing him with a broomstick. It was part of a team “tradition” called “No Gay Thursday.” The accused parties pled guilty.
The DA’s letter included various bullet points that specifically refuted the talk-about-town that the incident in question never happened, citing testimony and admission by the alleged perpetrators themselves:
1. Did “No Gay Thursdays” happen as a regular hazing ritual with the Conestoga High School football team? Yes, as confirmed by the football players and the School District’s internal investigation.
2. Was the locker room generally unsupervised, allowing “No Gay Thursdays” to continue? Yes, as confirmed by the coaches, players, and the School District’s internal investigation.
3. Did two larger senior players hold the victim down as part of “No Gay Thursdays”? Yes, as stated by the victim, as confirmed by other players, and as admitted by the charged juveniles.
4. Did one of the charged juveniles poke the victim with a broomstick in the lower half of the victim’s body while the victim was being held down by two larger and older players? Yes, as stated by the victim, confirmed by other team members, and as admitted by the charged juveniles. What would you think if you walked in and saw that being done to your son? What would you think if it was done to your daughter?
5. Did the broomstick penetrate the victim? The victim says yes. And only he would know.
The letter is worth a read as it excoriates an entire culture — widespread across the American sports system — that attempts to quiet victims and “keep it in the locker room.”
While hazing is heralded as a rite of passage for many young athletes (and members of other “fraternities”), not a single game has ever been won because the team hazed well. It is a disgusting, outdated, illegal practice that gets lauded on ESPN and in other publications.
Thankfully we have people like Hogan who consider it a serious offense and target offenders with the full weight of the law.