Wheaton, Illinois — Five Wheaton College football players stand accused of hazing a teammate last year. A judge in DuPage County signed arrest warrants late Monday for the players. (Warning: The details of the hazing are disturbing.)
According to the allegations, James Cooksey, Samuel TeBos, Kyler Kregel, Noah Spielman and Benjamin Pettway restrained a teen-aged victim using duct tape, before trying to sodomize him with an unidentified object. The five men are wanted on felony charges of aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint.
Their 19-year-old alleged victim said the March 2016 incident had a “devastating” impact on his life. He transferred out of Wheaton, a Christian establishment, to another college in Indiana after the alleged abuse.
“What was done to me should never occur in connection with a football program or any other activity,” the teen, who was not identified, said in a statement to the Chicago Tribune. “I am confident that the criminal prosecution will provide a fair and just punishment to the men who attacked me.”
There was no additional information forthcoming from the Wheaton Police Department. Citing an ongoing investigation, they refused to answer questions.
The Tribune reportedly obtained records detailing the victim’s allegations, as told to investigators. From their report:
The student told investigators that he was watching the NCAA basketball tournament in a dorm room on March 19, 2016, when several teammates entered the room and tackled him, according to the documents. The freshman kicked his legs and yelled at them to stop, only to be punched and have his bare legs and wrists wrapped in duct tape, the victim said.
The players put a pillow case over the 19-year-old freshman’s head and took him from the residence hall. Though there was a “root beer kegger” taking place in the dorm that night, no students or college employees intervened as the freshman was carried out of the building, according to the records.
The freshman told investigators that he was placed in the back seat of a teammate’s vehicle and held down by at least two players while others piled into the vehicle. After the vehicle began moving, the players played Middle Eastern music and made offensive comments about Muslims, according to the victim’s account.
At one point, the players suggested to the freshman that he had been kidnapped by Muslims who wanted to fornicate with goats, the teen told investigators. They patted his foot and suggested he would be their “goat” for the evening, the records said.
The freshman told investigators that his teammates restrained him with more duct tape during the drive, pulled down his shorts and underwear, then repeatedly tried to insert an object into his rectum. After the freshman yelled at them to stop, he was beaten, he said.
The players drove to a park located off campus and carried the freshman onto a baseball diamond, according to his account. The players threw dirt on the teen, took his cell phone and left him half-naked on the field, he said.
The freshman did not know where he was after he’d been dumped, and the temperature that night was about 45 degrees.
When a second player was dumped in the same field about 10 minutes later, classmates who went looking for the second player drove both students back to campus. Upon returning to his dorm, the 19-year old accuser called his mother, then drove himself to the hospital.
According to The New York Post, the victim tore muscles in both shoulders during his fight with his alleged abusers, and had bruises.
In a statement released late Monday, the college said it was “deeply troubled” by the allegations, that it took corrective actions, and that it strives to provide an educational environment, free from hazing.
“The conduct we discovered as a result of our investigation into this incident was entirely unacceptable and inconsistent with the values we share as human beings and as members of an academic community that espouses to live according to our Community Covenant,” campus spokeswoman LaTonya Taylor said in the statement. “We are profoundly saddened that any member of our community could be mistreated in any way.”
The school claims to have hired a third party to investigate the allegation. A source says several players were required to perform 50 hours of community service, and to write an eight-page essay reflecting on their behavior.
The players were all still on the team’s online roster as of early Tuesday, according to The Post.
They are expected to surrender to authorities as early as Tuesday, according to Du Page County State Attorney Paul Darrah, who spoke to WLS-TV.
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