Teen convicted of harassment, innocent of assault in disgusting wrestling hazing case

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A high school wrestler in Iowa was found guilty of harassment but innocent of assault after a disturbing incident in which he allegedly placed his genitalia on the face of an underclassman who was held down by teammates.

The Lisbon wrestling program was wracked by a hazing scandal in 2012 — Facebook
The Lisbon wrestling program was wracked by a hazing scandal in 2012 — Facebook

As reported by the Cedar Rapids Gazette and Associated Press, among other sources, 17-year-old Austin Edwards was found guilty of third-degree harassment in Linn County Court in connection with an incident in which he allegedly held down a 15-year-old Lisbon (Iowa) High teammate and placed his bare genitalia on the boy's face in the school's wrestling room.

The disturbing incident allegedly occurred in December, when the boy reported its occurrence to the Lisbon police department, claiming that the entire episode occurred before the team's coaches arrived in the school's wrestling room.

Troublingly, the harassment case wasn't even the only disturbing incident which befell the unnamed 15-year-old. In April an 18-year-old named Dakota VanDyke entered a so-called "Alford plea" in connection with urinating on the teenager in the school's locker room showers.

The Alford plea essentially locked VanDyke in to a guilty plea in exchange for dropping the charge from a more punitive assault charge to simple assault, which is a misdemeanor.

While the charges that were levied against Edwards and VanDyke are specific to only one teen, police investigators claimed that they uncovered evidence that three other underclassmen were hazed in similar circumstances. Yet those charges will never be heard after the students themselves and their parents requested that Edwards and VanDyke not be brought up on charges related to their children.

At this point, the Lisbon High community will be eager to move on from the disturbing incidents, as will the teens who will be faced with some difficulty trying to explain existing misdemeanors on their criminal records.

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