Bullying | Colorado | Education | Hazing | News

13-Year-Old Colorado Hazing Victim Ostracized By Parents, Classmates

In February 2012, three upperclassmen wrestling team members from the small town of Norwood, Colorado tied down their 13-year-old team manager with duct tape on an empty school bus and then sodomized him with a pencil.

NmAlthough Colorado law explicitly requires school employees to report child abuse to the police or social services, the victim's father — who was also the school's principal — reported the assault to the school's Superintendent David Crews and to the school board's vice president Robert Harris (who was also the school's wrestling coach and the father of two of the assailants).

The principal says he did not initially inform the police and recused himself from implementing any disciplinary action in hopes that school officials would properly address the matter. But when Crews only gave the assailants a one-day in-school suspension and the victim's father's complaints to the school board fell on deaf ears, the father reported the sexual assault to the police nearly a month after it took place. 

Continued, AFTER THE JUMP...

NorwoodFrom Bloomberg via  The Denver Post:

After the principal reported the incident to police, townspeople forced him to resign. Students protested against the victim at school, put "Go to Hell" stickers on his locker and wore T-shirts that supported the perpetrators…

… Jessica Bicknase, identified in a police report as the mother of one of the accused, paid to print T-shirts that bore a slogan using the initials of the suspects… A dozen students wore the T-shirts to school one Friday, and someone posted a sign with the same wording on the locker of the victim's brother…

Students who wore the t-shirts told police they wanted to support their friend. The victim told investigators he didn't understand why his friends would support people who attacked him.

When police visited the parents of students involved in the T-shirt incident… the parents instead focused on attacking the principal…

"They blamed our victim," said Lynn Kimbrough, a spokeswoman for the Denver district attorney's office  which brought the charges against the three students. "There was this huge backlash, and everybody turned against this boy and his family for bringing trouble to their town."

After the T-shirt incident, the principal decided to stop sending his son to school, and instead brought his assignments home.

On April 23, police arrested the three boys on juvenile charges of kidnapping, sexual assault and false imprisonment. One of the boys later plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of sexual contact without consent and the two others plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault — "sentences that included probation, community service and restitution of about $2,500 apiece."

After the ordeal, the school implemented more staff training about hazing and established an anonymous tip line to report hazing. The wrestling coach received a letter of reprimand for leaving students unsupervised on a bus and was reinstated as the school's wrestling coach.

The school board reached a settlement with the principal and renewed his contract. He now works in a town 200 miles away from Norwood, earning half of his previous salary. His now 14-year-old son has joined the wrestling team at a new school and finished an undefeated season. He's now weightlifting and playing as a member of his new school's football team.

The Bloomberg article adds that 10 percent of high school males have reported being sexually assaulted by another male. One expert says such cases becoming more frequent, brutal and sexually violent and another posits that assailants will often assault younger boys in a desire to prove their masculinity. 

In related news, the numbers of male-on-male sexual harassment charges and male military sexual assault victims are increasing as well.

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  1. What the hell is wrong with people?

    Posted by: JMC | Jun 25, 2013 7:54:11 AM

  2. The headline is slightly misleading in that it makes you think he was ostracized by his OWN parents, which was not the case.

    Posted by: ATLJason | Jun 25, 2013 8:15:46 AM

  3. Yeah, that headline needs to be fixed..... but thanks Andy for the story.

    Sounds like the Internet rage machine has some businesses and careers- the awful Superintendent and the rest of those parents and whomever else townspeople- to ruin. Hope it happens somehow.

    No really, I hope they get some kind of sh*t for this.

    Posted by: scott | Jun 25, 2013 8:27:21 AM

  4. Sadly ironic in a way. The stereotype of gay men is we're all weak and feminine yet in the military and high/middle school men/boys are raping each other to prove their masculinity.
    It'd be funny if it wasn't so tragic.
    And this town should be ashamed of themselves.

    Posted by: Kevin | Jun 25, 2013 8:30:33 AM

  5. I guess this hasn't made national news yet because the victim wasn't a female? Get a 'pretty' white girl assaulted, news crews are there almost as soon as the report is made.

    Everyone else is screwed.

    I think there's method to the father's madness of how he did the reports. Sounds like some evil things have gone down at that school for a very long time and the father was getting his ducks in a row. Or may he was scared and cowed like the poor man, Mike McQueary who blew the whistle on Penn State and ended up being blamed in spite of being a whistleblower.

    Posted by: Zeta | Jun 25, 2013 8:39:53 AM

  6. @Kevin, yeah, something like that. Gay men are stereotyped as effeminate because they're catchers and they like it (or were forced to like it).

    To be a gay man is to be a rape victim.

    So you have all these fake-straights and fake-bisexuals who tell themselves they're not gay because they're the rapist -- they pitch -- not the rape victim (they don't catch).

    And maybe that's what it all boils down to.

    Posted by: Zeta | Jun 25, 2013 8:42:05 AM

  7. @ATLJason, what gets me about the headline is that it's specified he's a HAZING victim, not a rape victim or a sexual assault victim. And to me, that makes all of the difference.

    Hazing implies 'maybe he could have sucked it up' and 'it was just fun and games that maybe got out of hand'. Why not call him what he is, a sexual assault victim? (and if he had been a chick, he most definitely would have been called a rape victim even though no penis entered flesh.)

    Posted by: Zeta | Jun 25, 2013 8:44:12 AM

  8. I, too, misunderstood the headline regarding "parents" until reading the story. However, the story doesn't indicate that the youngster is gay but just a victim of senseless male-on-male hazing. Am I missing something here? Anyway, it truly is disgusting how so many people cited in this incident, especially the so-called adults, are insensitive to what happened to the victim. But, hey, that's OK, karma eventually will pay all of them a victim.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Jun 25, 2013 8:46:51 AM

  9. Sorry, that last sentence above should read "But, hey, that's OK, karma eventually will pay all of them a visit".

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Jun 25, 2013 8:47:51 AM

  10. One day in school suspension for raping a child with a pencil?

    Breeders are such degenerates.

    Posted by: Tim S | Jun 25, 2013 8:49:34 AM

  11. When you see how the parent[s] react and behave, you better understand why the kids behave the way they do.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 25, 2013 9:02:00 AM

  12. The part where the perp's mother had t-shirts printed...????

    Wow... unbelievably c*ntish.

    The entire town should be swallowed up by the earth.

    Posted by: johnny | Jun 25, 2013 9:16:14 AM

  13. Good old Christian family values

    Posted by: Steve | Jun 25, 2013 9:20:08 AM

  14. The headline needs to be changed, pronto. This is about rape. Hazing is not the right word.

    Posted by: Mike | Jun 25, 2013 9:40:23 AM

  15. This is forcible rape of a minor, no? Not much different than the Steubenville, Ohio case of recent. Charges should be similar and the adults should be held accountable for turning a blind eye.

    Posted by: Chef | Jun 25, 2013 9:48:34 AM

  16. there's a special little corner of hell for that t-shirt mother.

    Posted by: patrick | Jun 25, 2013 9:53:10 AM

  17. Is there something missing from the story? The story is so egregious - How can school staff and parents really behave like this? The father deserves a medal and glad the kid is doing well at his new school.

    Posted by: Kevin | Jun 25, 2013 10:04:00 AM

  18. Is there something missing from the story? The story is so egregious - How can school staff and parents really behave like this? The father deserves a medal and glad the kid is doing well at his new school.

    Posted by: Kevin | Jun 25, 2013 10:04:00 AM

  19. This story makes me sick. Shame on the parents! They have no right having children, to be honest.

    Posted by: reality | Jun 25, 2013 10:04:54 AM

  20. It sounds like the young man who was assaulted is doing very well. Good for him! The mother who made up those T-shirts should be deeply ashamed of herself.

    Posted by: andrew | Jun 25, 2013 11:25:05 AM

  21. I agree that this is a case of rape and sexual assault, not hazing.

    Posted by: Derrick | Jun 25, 2013 11:35:49 AM

  22. Also I think the title should read "...ostracized by classmates and their parents". The current wording makes it seem like the victim's parents were ostracizing him as well.

    Posted by: Derrick | Jun 25, 2013 11:43:03 AM

  23. What ATLJason and Derrick said. A little more careful editing of the headline blurb might be useful. I was expecting to read that the boy's parents had rejected him.

    And Derrick, you are right. How does this not qualify as a rape?

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jun 25, 2013 11:59:27 AM

  24. The mother who made "t-shirts" sound right out of that "Murdering Texas Cheerleader Mother" movie. Holly Hunter should play her, she was excellent as a ridiculous mother loon.

    Posted by: MIke | Jun 25, 2013 12:39:23 PM

  25. I think I'd want a dad who was a tad more aggressive about pursuit of action in this situation; though, there is probably a great deal of backstory, here, that would shed a more favorable light on the delay...

    On this Karma Thing. Just a heads up. Karmic Debt is accumulated from life-to-life; rewards and retributions for actions taken in one life NEVER manifest in the same life. That would be counter to the concept and ideology. We can "know" that balance will come, but we must also accept that we will never knowingly be witness to it. That possibility would affect our own Karma; as to wish ill of others or even take pleasure in the exacting of that payment would add to our own debt...

    I hate that part, of course; I want to SEE them Get Theirs... This also explains why so many not-particularly-good people live long, successful, nasty lives... We must simply know that they will have that awaiting them...

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Jun 25, 2013 12:40:50 PM

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