Posted 9:15 PM 1/18/2013 : Report details arrest of 9 Sahuarita H.S. wrestlers
SAHUARITA, Ariz.- A police report obtained by News 4 Tucson details the events surrounding the arrest of nine wrestlers at Sahuarita High School.
Facing charge s of kidnapping and aggravated assault, the students are accused of participating in an alleged hazing incident involving another student on Tuesday that occured in the school locker room.
Three of the wrestlers are over 18 years old and are being charged as adults, the other six as juveniles.
The police report says a witness told police the incident happened as wrestlers forced the victim to the ground as he tried to leave the locker room, pulled his pants down and assaulted him. The group reportedly taunted him for the duration of the incident, which lasted between two and five minutes.
At least one of the students exposed himself and committed a lewd act on the victim, according to the report.
Manny Valenzuela, Superintendent of the Sahuarita Unified School District, said the school and community were shocked at the events that have unfolded.
"Obviously the first reaction is one of genuine concern and sadness for the event that's taken place and the allegations that have come forth," Valenzuela told News 4 Tucson.
Valenzuela said staff at the school had no idea the incident had occurred, until Sahuarita Police got involved.
The school has not taken their own disciplinary action on the students because they are waiting for the completion of investigation by law enforcement, Valenzuela said.
"Due to the law enforcement investigation...we really haven't launched our own investigation at this point," Valenzuela told News 4 Tucson, adding that he hopes to foster a culture within the school to demonstrate that bullying or hazing is not acceptable.
Sheri Bauman, a research professor at the University of Arizona and expert on bullying, said the power of that group drives their inappropriate behavior.
Bauman also told News 4 Tucson that victims of bullying often don't come forward for fear of retaliation.
"There's either real or implied threats. ‘You think this is bad...you tell anybody....and you'll know what's really bad'," Bauman said.
The police report also details that a witness to the incident told his mother what happened, who then reported the incident police. Bauman said the unwillingness of victims to speak up is all too common.
"This is not at all unusual and not only do they no tell authorities...they often don't tell anyone because it's so humiliating," Bauman said.
Police said more charges could be filed. School officials say they will follow district policy moving forward with the charged students, after the police finish up their investigation.
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