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Hazing arrests rock LA-area high school boys soccer program

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A Los Angeles-area high school has been rocked by arrests related to a sexual hazing case that occurred more than a year ago and led to the arrest of four former members of a varsity soccer team.

As reported by L.A. TV network KTLA and a handful of other Los Angeles sources, the four arrested teenagers were all members of the La Puente (Calif.) High boys soccer team at the time of the hazing incident. The charges against them stem from a series of sexually related hazing incidents between March and August 2011, with at least four victims involved, varying in age from 14 to 15 at the time.

One of the four arrested teens is 18, with the other three still minors. No names of the arrested students have been released. KTLA reported that one of the coaches for the team has also been placed on administrative leave while the case continues to be investigated.

"The allegations are deeply concerning and terribly sad," LaPuente Superintendent Barbara Nakaoka told the press at a district news conference. "We are working with law enforcement, and I can assure you that they are being investigated.

"We do not and will not turn a blind eye to reports of harassment or hazing. Therefore, we took immediate action to contact law enforcement to initiate an investigation."

While it's hoped that the case, for which details have yet to fully emerge, is an isolated one, police claim that they plan to investigate former members of the program stretching as far back as 2003, trolling for any other potential incidents which might highlight a larger culture of hazing within the program.

The La Puente Sheriff's Special Victims Bureau reportedly interviewed as many as 70 students about the allegations, a testament to just how serious the allegations are being taken.

For now, the largest concern continues to center on the four incidents connected to the formal charges which have been levied. Yet until it is confirmed that the hazing incidents started and stopped in 2011, anxiety that they are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg will linger and threaten to taint the athletic department at the Southern California school.

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