Anal hazing has become and apparently — as of 2016 — remains a bizarre ritual in American high schools.
Recent years have seen an alarming number of hazing incidents around the country involving high school boys who have sodomized other boys with foreign objects. Dozens of boys have been reported victims. Most victims have been younger students. The criminal perpetrators have been older.
One of the latest incidents occurred over Christmas break when three members of a small-town Tennessee high school basketball team were arrested and charged with aggravated rape after an incident involving a 15-year-old freshman.
The incident occurred in Gatlinburg. The Ooltewah High School boys basketball team was playing in a tournament there.
In a rental cabin, the three older players — all juveniles — allegedly used a wooden pool cue to sodomize the 15-year-old boy, according to The Chattanoogan.
The boy “was tortured by three of his teammates,” a family member described.
The next day, the boy collapsed and was rushed to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in an ambulance. Both his colon and his bladder had been ruptured in the attack. He will need to wear a catheter and colostomy bag for weeks.
The three players who alleged raped the unidentified freshman with a pool cue have been kicked off the Ooltewah High basketball team.
A similar incident, which occurred in mid-December, has caused the cancellation of the entire boys basketball program — varsity and jayvee — at Strasburg High School in rural Northern Virginia for the year.
“The Shenandoah County Public Schools received what initially appears to be substantial allegations about physical misconduct among student athletes,” school district superintendent Jeremy Raley said in a statement obtained by the Martinsburg Journal.
The allegations refer to abuse allegedly suffered by a 16-year-old male student on a team bus in mid-December.
“We are also taking the action necessary to protect our students from behavior that is not and will not be tolerated by our school division, including any possible retaliation for reporting of allegations,” the statement added.
There’s a dearth of data concerning the size and scope of the national boy-on-boy anal hazing problem. Astonishingly, though, a study of fairly recent vintage published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence has claimed that nearly 10 percent of high school males report suffering some form of sexual assault including, in some cases, forced oral sex or rape. (RELATED: Anal Hazing Is A Thing In American High Schools Now)
Social media plays a big role in the spread of hazing in high schools, asserts Susan Lipkins, a New York psychologist who has studied the phenomenon. High schoolers learn new and more brutal ways to haze thanks to virtual communities.
“Each time a hazing occurs, the perpetrators add their own mark to it by increasing the pain or humiliation,” Lipkins told Bloomberg in 2013.
A sampling of recent incidents certainly demonstrates creative cruelty.
Three former soccer players at La Puente High School in the suburban sprawl east of Los Angeles were convicted of sexually assaulting other students with a javelin and a broken flagpole, according to Southern California Public Radio.
A bit farther east, in Fontana, Calif., underage students allegedly tried to place a piece of rebar inside the anal cavity of another student, according to NBC Southern California. There was a similar incident involving a broom handle. Prosecutors say a masonry teacher was present at the time and knew what was happening.
In tiny Greenfield, Iowa, a group of members of the Nodaway Valley High School wrestling team allegedly pinned down a 16-year-old teammate and sexually assaulted him because he had missed practice. Older wrestlers allegedly forced jump role handles into the anuses of younger wrestlers who missed practice or failed to make weight.
At New York’s fancypants Bronx High School of Science, three members of the track team stand accused of violently sexual abusing at least one younger student, according to CBS New York.
“You need a good fingering, you freshman,” one of the attackers allegedly told the victim at one point.
In the suburbs of Chicago, prosecutors say a group of older soccer players at Maine West High School sodomized several younger players with fingers or sticks, says WLS-TV.
In the Boston area, police arrested three members of the boys junior varsity soccer team at Somerville High School for allegedly assaulting freshmen team members in a cabin at a sports camp during the summer of 2013. “The incident goes far beyond hazing. This is rape,” Joseph A. Curtatone, the mayor of Somerville, told The Boston Globe. (RELATED: This Week In Anal Hazing In American High Schools)
And, in the furthest exurbs of Chicago, five members of the football and basketball teams at Plano High School were arrested in 2013 on criminal charges after eight months of alleged anal hazing and digital penetration, according to ABC 7 Chicago.
Bloomberg covers the horrifying details of a 2012 case in the tiny ranching town of Norwood, Colorado. Three varsity wrestlers bound a 13-year-old boy with duct tape on a bus — at the state wrestling meet — and sodomized him with a pencil.
The wrestling coach was the father of two of the attackers. The victim’s father was the principal of the school’s single, all-grade public school.
The superintendent gave the assailants a one-day, in-school suspension.
The unnamed principal confronted the wrestling coach. After initially denying the incident, the coach allegedly said, “This happens 1,000 times a day around the U.S.”
Students teased the 13-year-old boy. “What’s been stuck up your butt today?” they would ask.
The townies sided overwhelmingly with the coach and the pencil-wielding attackers.
“I got bullied as a kid because I had long hair and earrings,” a local carpenter told Bloomberg. “I played football, baseball and soccer and the older kids bullied me. But we always shook hands and it would be over with. But today, you can get prosecuted. It has all gone too far.”
“When I was in school there might have been bullying, but there was none of this crap about telling the school,” added the carpenter’s spouse.
The principal eventually had to accept a buyout of his contract and move to another Colorado town.
The wrestling coach is still employed by the school.
The sexual assault craze that is sweeping America’s schools isn’t limited to hazing, or anal violations, or high schools.
Three male students — two third-graders and a fifth-grader — at an elementary school in New York City forced a third-grade boy to perform oral sex on them, according to a disturbing lawsuit. (RELATED: Three grade-school boys allegedly forced third-grader to perform oral sex on them)
The March 2012 incident allegedly occurred in a bathroom at Public School 194 in Harlem. The eight-year-old victim was standing in a hallway when the three assailants dragged the boy into a bathroom stall. His pleas for help went unheard.