DENVER (CBS4)– Three juveniles from Norwood are accused of attacking a classmate at the state wrestling tournament in Denver. Now the superintendent is investigating a “culture of hazing” within the school district.
A judge ordered the trio to be placed in electronic home monitoring devices when they appeared in court Friday morning. They were released on bond earlier this week.
“The juvenile charges that have been filed today are the result of a careful review of exactly what the facts are and what happened and what state law says is criminal,” said Denver District Attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough.
The three suspects and their alleged victim all live in the small town of Norwood on the Western Slope. The charges stem from the state wrestling tournament at the Pepsi Center February 16.
Two 9th graders and an 8th grader are accused of taping and violating a 7th grader while they were left without supervision on a school bus parked outside the tournament.
The Denver District Attorney charged the boys with felony sexual assault, felony kidnapping and false imprisonment. One of the boys is charged with an extra count of sexual assault but the DA’s office wouldn’t elaborate which defendant.
Norwood Superintendent Dave Crews said since learning of this incident, the school district has started its own investigation into the possibility that similar attacks may have happened before.
“After the incident at State Wrestling, we are now hearing about a number of other “taping incidents” from past years- a possible culture of hazing. The district is now investigation the new claims that have bubbled up,” said Dave Crews in a statement.
He also confirmed that Norwood has not investigated “taping incidents” in the past.
“Attempts to minimize these allegations into something along the lines of hazing is actually quite concerning because of the serious nature of the charges and allegations,” said Kimbrough.
In court Friday morning, the judge emphasized that the defendants or any related third party is not allowed to have contact with the victim or the DA will seek intimidating witness charges.
The parents of the students involved are school leaders. The father of two of the suspects is the wrestling coach and school board president.
The alleged victim’s father is the principal, who said he relied on his colleagues to take action.
The co-defendants have said that they will not be returning to school until the rest of the case plays out. They’re expected back in court June 1.