High School Football Players Charged with Assaulting Teammate on "No Gay Thursday"

Three players at a Pennsylvania high school sexually assaulted a 14-year-old freshman with a broom handle.
March 4, 2016, 7:46pm

Three senior football players from Conestoga High School, a highly-rated school located in a Philadelphia suburb, are being charged with assaulting a freshman with a broom handle, according to the Associated Press.

The incident took place in October on what the team has called "No Gay Thursday"—a day when behavior the team considered "gay" was considered "not gay," Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said, noting that in the past senior players had placed their genitals on younger players, among other sexually explicit acts.

On this particular Thursday, the senior players forced underclassmen to strip down to their boxers and clean the locker room as a form of hazing. When the victim, a 14-year-old, tried to leave the locker room in protest, three senior players pinned him down and penetrated him with a broom handle.

"It just happened to be a perfect storm of this 'No Gay Thursday' tradition and them not liking this freshman and taking it out on him in a pretty horrible way," Hogan said.

The three players are being charged as juveniles with assault, conspiracy, unlawful restraint, terroristic threats, and related offenses. You may have noticed that sexual assault is not in that list—that's because, according to the AP, "the law requires a motive of sexual gratification, which was not the case here."

Conestoga's head football coach John Vogan has been suspended from his duties while the school district investigates the incident further, though no evidence has been presented that the coaching staff was aware of the assault or the team's hazing culture.

Hogan claims he would have pressed hazing charges as well, but the state only criminalizes hazing in colleges, not high schools. However, a bill in the state legislature is currently pending to extend that statute to high schools.