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Wrestlers charged with sexual battery after camp incident

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A disturbing incident at a high school wrestling camp in Georgia has four teens behind bars and another with a long road toward forgetting a traumatic assault.

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Valdosta wrestler Jamel Sharp

Valdosta wrestler Jamel Sharp

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Calhoun Times and a handful of other Atlanta-area sources, four attendees of the Team Georgia USA Wrestling camp at Shorter University allegedly sexually assaulted a fifth student athlete at the camp late on Friday night. All four teens have since been taken into custody and had their bond requests denied, a motion which could keep them in jail for months.

Officially, the four Georgia teenagers being held have been charged with either aggravated sexual battery or being party to a crime of aggravated sexual battery, crimes which carry a 10-20 year prison term if they are convicted. All four teens involved are 17, meaning that any hopes of a juvenile sentence for their alleged crime are greatly diminished. They could also face additional penalties for assaulting a juvenile, as their victim was younger than the alleged perpetrators.

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Lowndes wrestler Kenny Mason

Lowndes wrestler Kenny Mason

Here's how the Journal-Constitution described the alleged assault:

The juvenile victim stated that the youths were playing around at first when Mason held him down while others hit him. "Another group came in and two boys held his feet and pulled down his pants" while someone tried to assault him with a toothbrush, the report said.

While the juvenile victim will not be identified, the four of-age students included three wrestlers who placed at the 2011 state championships, including one who won his weight class.

Jamel Sharp (pictured at top, above), the 112-pound wrestler for Valdosta (Ga.) High, was the 112-pound Class AAAAA champion while his brother, Robert (who was also involved), finished third in the 103-pound classification. Mountain View (Ga.) High star Dallas Brown also finished third in the 119-pound category of Class AAA, while Kenny Mason (pictured second, above), the fourth student behind held, was a varsity member of the Lowndes (Ga.) High squad.

While both camp officials and police agreed that the incident probably began as typical horseplay, the fact that it snowballed into a full-blown criminal assault can serve as a cautionary tale for other student athletes.

"At some point it got out of hand and crossed the line into a criminal act," Floyd County Detective Jeff Richerson told the Journal-Constitution.

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