Thirteen Year-Old Wrestler Sexually Assaulted with Pencil in Brutal Hazing Incident


Picture: Anti-Hazing poster by Auburn University (C)

Janet Allon writes at AlterNet:

In tiny Norwood, Colorado, a state high-school wrestling tournament turned into a nightmare for one of the team’s youngest members, when the 13-year-old was cornered, bound with duct tape and sodomized with a pencil, in what was called a “hazing” incident.

More outrageous still, is that this was only the beginning of the trauma he endured, after reporting the attack. He was bullied, ostracized, and humiliated on Facebook. Supporters of his attackers wore T-shirts supporting them, two of whom just happened to be sons of the wrestling coach, Robert Harris, according to the Denver Post. Just to add another strange wrinkle to this sad tale, the victim was the son of the school’s principal, begging the question: If he’s not safe, who is?

Sexual assault as part of brutal hazing rituals for sports teams is on the rise, with more than 40 high school boys reporting being sodomized by foreign objects by teammates in the last year. According to the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 10 percent of high school boys report being victims of rape of sex assault by peers. Experts also say that the rise in high school hazing has fueled college hazing rituals, and that upping the ante of pain and humiliation is intrinsic to the practice.

Back in Norwood, the victim’s dad heard some boys laughing about assaulting his son and was, understandably horrified, but he did not immediately report the incident to the police. Rather he notified superintendent and the school board. The perps were given a one-day in-school suspension. The father complained, and things got worse for his son, who fortunately had needed no medical attention.

But he was repeatedly harassed and teased.

According to an extensive account in The Denver Post his teasers would say: ‘What’s been stuck up your butt today?”‘ according to his mother. “Things were posted on Facebook, like ‘Rot in hell, liar!”‘

The rest of the story reads like a whole town turning into the island in Lord of the Flies. Here’s how the Post tells it:

As word spread about the incident, townspeople turned against the principal and his family.

Frustrated by the response of town and school officials, the principal finally reported the incident to the Denver police. The police sent investigators to Norwood and on April 23 they arrested the three boys, charging them as juveniles with kidnapping, sexual assault and false imprisonment, according to the district attorney’s office.

On news of the arrests, anger exploded in Norwood, and it was aimed squarely at the principal and his 13-year-old son. The school board held a series of private meetings with parents who clamored for the principal’s dismissal.

“It should have been left alone,” said Sheldon Cline, a 54-year-old electrician. “It should have been handled through the system here. If you publicize it, it gets blown out of proportion.”

Marie Fouche, a substitute teacher at the school at the time, went to the school board to speak in support of the principal.

“It seemed the whole town was against the victim and his father,” Fouche said. “It was all about punishment and not helping.”

After the arrests, Jessica Bicknase, identified in a police report as the mother of one of the accused, paid to print T-shirts that bore a slogan using the initials of the suspects. Bicknase declined to comment.

A dozen students wore the T-shirts to school one Friday, and someone posted a sign with the same wording on the locker of the victim’s brother, according to the police report, which was reviewed by Bloomberg. Students who wore the t-shirts told police they wanted to support their friends. The victim told investigators he didn’t understand why his friends would support people who attacked him.

Read more here.

15 Comments on "Thirteen Year-Old Wrestler Sexually Assaulted with Pencil in Brutal Hazing Incident"

  1. emperorreagan | Jul 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm |

    Apparently rape is hazing? I’m glad I stopped participating in organized sports in third grade.

  2. Great_Ape | Jul 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm |

    Jesus, a bunch of fucking animals.

    • Reuben_the_Red | Jul 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm |

      Don’t give animals a bad name. Only humans raised by other humans could ever be so sadistic and cruel.

  3. specialtasks | Jul 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm |

    “The rest of the story reads like a whole town turning into the island in Lord of the Flies.”

    Ever live in a small town?

  4. One day in school suspension? Everyone involved should have been expelled, minus the victim.

  5. Frater Isla | Jul 2, 2013 at 9:00 pm |

    Something awful needs to happen to that town.

    • mannyfurious | Jul 3, 2013 at 10:36 am |

      I live not too far from Norwood. Trust me, something good needs to happen to that town. It’s an awful, godforsaken place.

      • Apathesis | Jul 3, 2013 at 3:14 pm |

        I was stunned to learned that of the town’s registered voters, 76% are Democrat. STUNNED.

        What is it like there?

        • mannyfurious | Jul 3, 2013 at 5:05 pm |

          Well, there are only about 500 people who actually live in town, and a good half to 3/4 only live there through the ski season (it’s close to Telluride). What we’re really talking about in this particular situation are the full-timers who live in farms and small settlements outside the town of Norwood. These are your typical poor, white, redneck folk who are sort of bitter at the world because they literally have sit back and watch the rich white folk live a life of luxury while they struggle to get through the month.

          Norwood, aesthetically, is actually a very beautiful place. It’s basically a small valley surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges. But there’s very little industry and actual work. Norwood survives off whatever money it can siphon from nearby Telluride. People who can’t afford winter (or summer) homes in Telluride will purchase a place in or around Norwood. It’s basically a mix of rich, white part-time residents and poor, white full-time residents, neither of whom like each other.

  6. Ted Heistman | Jul 3, 2013 at 6:47 am |

    Wow, I thought the culture around wrestling was a lot more intelligent that this…Most of the wrestlers I knew were nerds, kind of like cross country runners…sad really sad.

    • mannyfurious | Jul 3, 2013 at 5:13 pm |

      My experience is that wrestlers are either some of the best people around or some of the worst. There are very few that fall in between.

  7. The problem is that administrators treat school systems like their own private fiefdom, where actual crimes are “handled internally”. The principal couldn’t even get out of this mindset when a crime was committed against his own son. Relation or not, the son was a student at the school and the principal should be held professionally responsible for not immediately reporting the incident to the police.

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