RYE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Three Westchester teenagers accused in a high school hazing faced a judge Tuesday.
Rye High School juniors Max Meyerson, Sean Pinson and Tristan Scragg pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor hazing and unlawful imprisonment charges.
The three students also face second degree assault charges after police said they took part in a brutal ritual known around Rye as “Freshman Friday,” a hazing initiation designed to put incoming freshmen in their place.
WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane On The Case
The teens have not yet entered a plea on the second degree assault charge, which is a felony. That charge will be adjudicated at a later date in White Plains.
In court, the judge issued an order of protection against the alleged victims in this case, ordering all three teens to stay away from their homes, businesses and school.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports
The teens allegedly picked up several eighth graders from in front of the Rye library on June 1, loaded them into the trunk of a vehicle and then drove them to the Marshland Conservancy Park.
That’s where police said they pulled out a 2 by 4 and beat at least two of the younger students multiple times.
“They had to go to a log, lean over the log, then they got hit,” said one of the victim’s mothers, who did not want to be identified. She said her son came home bruised and battered.
According to police, the beatings were so violent that one of the students ended up in the hospital.
“We’re going to conduct our own investigation of this matter to determine the true facts of the case and we have no further comment,” Scragg’s attorney, Michael Romano, said.
“This is a case, in all honesty, that should not be tried in the press, it should be dealt with in the courtroom, that’s the appropriate forum for this,” Pinson’s attorney, Anthony Piscionere, said.
Rye parents are now furious and said they’ve been concerned about the alleged freshman beat-downs for years.
“It’s horrible and whoever pressed charges, they were right to do it,” said parent Yvette Vera-Pigmato. ”It should never be tolerated.”
It’s supposedly a tradition of sorts that many students have said is feared on the middle school campus.
“If you’re a good athlete or have older brothers that are well-known, they pick you,” said Rye High junior Alex Raynor.
The school’s superintendent issued a statement after the alleged incident saying hazing won’t be tolerated and never has been.
“That’s a lie,” Rye High junior Katie Weld said. ”This has been happening for years and if they really cared, they should have done something a long time ago.”
The high school’s principal said if found guilty, the boys will be disciplined in school, as well as in the courts.
The most serious charge, second degree assault, carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison if convicted.
The teens are due back in court on July 24.
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