Sources Tell CBS 2 At Least 5 Varsity Players Are At The Center Of The Investigation


TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Chris Christie has expressed outrage at allegations of hazing and intimidation surrounding Sayreville High School’s football team.

Chrisite said that, if true, the reported conduct at the Middlesex County school is “extraordinarily disturbing” and “a nightmare” for the parents of the team members involved.

Law enforcement sources told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan on Thursday that at least three young football players have come forward, alleging they were sexually assaulted and inappropriately touched by a handful of older varsity players inside the team’s locker room.

They said the abuse happened on a regular basis, almost daily, Sloan reported.

“As the father of a number of teenage athletes, the idea that that kind of conduct could be permitted, if it’s true, that that kind of conduct could be permitted in a high school athletic program or anywhere else in our state for that matter is absolutely unacceptable,” Christie said in Trenton on Thursday. “It tells us something about the attitude that was allowed to pervade in that program.”

Christie said he’s spoken with the attorney general’s office and his education commissioner about the investigation and has full confidence in prosecutors.

“You think when you send your child to a sporting activity that they’re going to be engaged in activity that’s positive for them, that’s uplifting, that teaches them the right type of lessons,” he said. “If that’s what went on in Sayreville, that’s not what parents were expecting their children to be exposed to or taught and it’s unacceptable.”

Authorities continue to investigate the behavior that prompted the schools’ superintendent to cancel the rest of the season’s games.

Superintendent Richard Labbe announced Monday he was canceling the games after the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office substantiated allegations of hazing.

“There was enough evidence that there were incidents of harassment, of intimidation and bullying that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level and at a level at which the players knew, tolerated and generally accepted,” Labbe told reporters Monday night.

Graphic details of what allegedly happened inside the locker room at the school were first revealed in a report Wednesday on NJ.com.

The prosecutor’s office hasn’t charged anyone and hasn’t released details of its investigation. School Board President Kevin Ciak said the less details provided the better “whenever you’ve got an investigation of that nature.”

However, sources told Sloan that at least five varsity players are at the center of the probe.

“Knowing some of the players, I really don’t think they would actually do something like that,” Sayreville senior Allison Eberle said. “I can’t wrap my mind around it. I just think you are innocent until you are proven guilty, so allegations really don’t mean much.”

One student who did not want to be identified told Sloan he had seen the accused players in school.

“You can tell they are annoyed, but they are not like walking depressed. They’re like trying to hold their heads up high, get through this, do what they have to do,” the student said.

Former NFL trainer Karl Romain said hazing has always been part of sports culture, but what has been alleged at Sayreville is completely over the top.

“This was never part of the culture. There is right of passage or sometimes an initiation. Being an athlete my whole life I’ve seen stuff like that but never to this extent and never anything like that, and definitely not persistent,” Romain said. “Usually it’s a one-time thing and it’s nothing very major. This is totally different. This definitely crossed the line.”

Romain said high school coaches have to be more vigilant with supervision of their players.

Meanwhile, parents and students have expressed anger that the whole team is being punished. Labbe has stood by his decision and has said the time has come for students and others to step forward when bullying is occurring.

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