RYE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Prosecutors in Rye have dropped the most serious charge against three teens accused of beating younger students in a hazing ritual.

With the decision to drop the felony assault charge, the three teens are now being prosecuted as juveniles in the case.

The District Attorney decided to lower the assault charge to a misdemeanor, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.

Much of the proceedings will now be blocked from public view because the three are being treated as minors in the case.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports

Prosecutors mentioned a possible plea deal in the works before the judge cleared the courtroom. Whether a deal is reached will also remain blocked from public record because the case is now sealed.

Because of the juvenile status, the teens’ punishment, if any, will not be made public.

“The proceedings are sealed, as you heard in court,” one of the teen’s lawyers told reporters as they left court.

Rye High School students Max Meyerson, Sean Pinson and Tristan Scragg, now seniors, had previously pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor hazing and unlawful imprisonment charges.

The three students also faced the second degree assault charge 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.

The DA contends that in June, the three then-high school juniors forced at least two incoming freshmen into a car, drove them to a park and beat them with pieces of wood.

According to police, the beatings were so violent that one of the students ended up in the hospital.

The felony assault charge had carried a penalty of up to seven years in prison.

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