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Illicit CP - October 2002


The Bergen Record, New Jersey, 29 October 2002

North Jersey News

Eight teens admit frat hazing

By Jennifer V. Hughes
Staff Writer

Eight Hawthorne High School students pleaded guilty Monday to hazing for this summer's paddling incident that sent three youths to the hospital.

The boys, ranging in age from 15 to 17, will face probation and community service on the disorderly persons charge when they are sentenced in December. Each teenager pleaded guilty in Superior Court in Paterson to three counts of hazing -- one for each of the victims, said Sue Greco, Passaic County assistant prosecutor.

The youths, along with five adults who will be in court today, participated in, or were present during, a rite inducting three Hawthorne High School freshmen into the Sigma Kappa Delta fraternity, police have said. The adults are alumni of the school.

Three boys were paddled on their bare buttocks on July 27 after being blindfolded in a secluded wooded area across the county line in Ridgewood, police said.

Originally, the teenagers also were charged with aggravated assault -- a crime that would have carried up to two years in a youth prison. Those charges were dismissed as part of the plea.

A state judge will determine how many years of probation the boys will be required to serve. They will have to perform at least 50 hours of community service and must reimburse the victims for out-of-pocket medical expenses, Greco said.

The boys' attorneys either declined comment or did not return phone calls.

The five adults also charged in the incident face counts of hazing, assault, and child endangerment. Their cases are set to be in court in Bergen County today for a pre-indictment hearing.

The juvenile cases were heard in Passaic County because the teenagers live in Hawthorne. There are different rules in adult court that require cases against adults to be heard in the county where the crime took place.

All of the adult defendants are free on bail. The youths were released by a judge to the custody of their parents.

Copyright © 2002 North Jersey Media Group Inc.

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