Washington high school releases results of hazing investigation from football camp

A Washington high school has released its investigation after a group of football players at Mead High School were accused of hazing teammates during an annual overnight camp at Eastern Washington University from June 19 to June 22, 2023.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said there was probable cause for misdemeanor fourth-degree assault charges after investigating video footage that appeared to show a group of football players holding down a teammate and using a massage gun on his groin, according to KXLY.

The investigation took months after Mead High School athletic leaders initially saw a different video and spoke with players in July 2023. According to the school’s internal report, Athletic Director John Barrington received an email over the summer from a parent of a student who was not at the camp, who shared a video of the incident. The report has the following analysis of the video:

“The video depicts laughing, shouting and something resembling a “dogpile” on an individual, however it’s hard to determine what exactly is happening, apart from horseplay and/or roughhousing. Without specific mention of a massage gun or assault in the email, it would be difficult to know that a massage gun is being used on someone’s body and, at first glance, the incident does not appear to be assaultive behavior. In fact, based on what is not evident in the video provided, it seems that the parent who sent the email must have been provided with additional context and information regarding what was taking place in the room.”

The email was forwarded to head coach Keith Stamps, who spoke with some players in the video, including the one who was targeted. That player told him it was “all good,” according to the report. Based on the conversations, Stamps did not believe further investigation was necessary.

On Dec. 8, Stamps met with a parent who had two videos showing a “much different (clearer) perspective” of what took place. Three days later, a Monday, Stamps met with Barrington and said the issues “may be bigger than” they’d thought in July. They shared the information with Principal Kimberly Jensen.

Jensen received copies of the videos two months later, on Feb. 20. She and the school’s resource deputy reached out to the victims’ parents, one of whom granted consent for their kid to be interviewed by the school.

KREM obtained a video and reported that it showed several teens holding a player down on the floor while another teen held a massage gun. A large number of students at the high school reportedly shared the video on social media.

A parent reached out to the Director of the Greater Spokane League (GSL) and the Executive Director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) to express concern that the incident was being “minimized” by the district. She said her son had been bullied, assaulted, molested and was a victim of retaliation and discriminatory harassment. She also said players had “shoved a massage gun up (her son’s) anus,” according to the report.

Investigators told KREM there was probable cause to charge five students, all younger than 18, with fourth-degree assault. They did not pursue charges of sexual assault because there was no evidence of sexual motivation.

All five students were referred to a diversion program, according to KREM, because a fourth-degree assault is a gross misdemeanor and none of the students have criminal history.

According to KREM, the Spokane County Superior Court agreed not to file criminal charges if the five accused students met prescribed conditions.


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Story originally appeared on High School Sports