|www.corpun.com : Archive : 2001 : US Illicit Aug 2001|
Corpun file 8161 at www.corpun.com
The Post-Crescent, Appleton, Wisconsin, 29 August 2001
Teens may face charges in hazing ritual
Menasha High School athletes allegedly beat freshmen with wooden paddle
By Michael King
MENASHA -- Authorities on Tuesday said they are close to bringing charges against as many as 10 Menasha High School sophomores for paddling several soon-to-be freshman boys. The paddling took place in June as part of a "hazing" ritual.
Police Lt. Ron Bouchard said the investigation into the June 8 incident is expected to lead to charges in Winnebago County juvenile court.
Potential charges range from a municipal summons for disorderly conduct to felony physical abuse of a child. Students also may face disciplinary action from the school.
At various locations in the city and Town of Menasha, the perpetrators allegedly used a wooden paddle to administer the punishment.
Police began investigating when they learned about it from a parent who notified school officials.
"There was a certain group of kids that knew each other and went out and did this," Bouchard said. "One particular boy received a severe enough beating that there was some severe bruising to his buttocks and legs."
Most of the victims were involved in athletics and were required to sign the paddles after the incident.
Bouchard said the victims had been reluctant to tell authorities what happened, while the perpetrators willingly admitted the incidents.
Larry Haase, Menasha High School principal, said such behavior will not be tolerated.
"One of our mottos at Menasha High School is you treat people with compassion and respect, not because of who they are but because of who you are," he said. "This is not an example of what we would call normal Menasha High School behavior.
"There's a lot of variables in terms of loss of privileges in school along with loss of privileges with co-curriculars," Haase said.
School officials intend to use the incident as a "humane learning opportunity for the kids involved," Haase said.
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