The coach walks into a cabin and finds a group of players holding down another player with one participant about to sodomize the victim with a broomstick and his response is "cut it out"?
Later, he finds out that several players had already been subject to this "hazing" and the response is, well, we thought we had stopped it?
You know, I hate double-speak.
There's "hazing," there's "bullying," and then there is "felony rape." Have we really defined deviancy down to the point where shoving a broomstick up someone's rectum is considered "sexual harassment"?
Somebody please tell me the reason these kids aren't in jail is not because they happen to be starters.
According to state police reports, a group of juniors assaulted several younger teammates over two days, holding the victims down while a broomstick was forced into their rectums over their athletic shorts.
Police did not find out about it from school officials; instead, a state police officer whose son is on the team learned of the allegations through his wife, a camp volunteer.
"These are young kids in a difficult, difficult environment," said Bob Rothstein, an attorney for several victims' families. "They have to go to school every day and they're still trying to play football on the team. They certainly didn't want to be exposed in this way."
School Superintendent Rick Romero said spectators at some opposing schools have taunted the Robertson girls' soccer team and a middle school girls' volleyball team with "references to broomsticks and other very inappropriate sexual innuendoes."
A school district investigation released earlier this month accused the coaching staff of not adequately supervising the players and failing to look into the initial reports of hazing. District Attorney Henry Valdez in Santa Fe said coaches and school administrators could face charges of failing to report child sexual abuse.
According to a state police report, an assistant coach told the other coaches during training camp "that some sort of hazing incident involving broomsticks was happening." Another coach walked into a cabin to see "a player on his stomach on the ground, with his legs spread open," while a teammate held a broomstick, the police report said. The coach told the players to "cut it out" and the group broke up.
Romero said the coaches believed they had intervened in time to stop a hazing incident. But "as our investigation has unfolded, we learned that it had already happened," the superintendent said.
In an interview, Romero said school officials did not immediately notify authorities because they were not sure exactly what had happened.
"We were doing things based on the best information we had," he said. "At that time, neither I nor the athletic director, nor, I believe, the head coach knew the degree of the severity of the actions."
Romero said lessons about bullying -- already a regular part of the elementary school curriculum -- are planned with students at all grades. High school students will also learn about sexual harassment.
"This was a very violent, very serious form of bullying," the superintendent said. "Until we do a better job of identifying and dealing with it, this is not going to be the last time we hear about it."