Two AHS football players involved in hazing get sanctions

Three Ashland High School football players who faced charges (see correction, below) of felony coercion against teammates during a summer football training camp will not be required to go before a judge in juvenile court.

Two of the players, who also faced charges of conspiracy to attempt to commit unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree, were placed on a formal accountability agreement for hazing, said Joe Ferguson, deputy director of Jackson County Juvenile Services.

The two players are required to meet weekly with a probation officer and give a presentation to an elementary school class on how sports provides an opportunity for leadership instead of using power to engage in hazing incidents, Ferguson said.

If they comply with these conditions by June 16, their juvenile files will be closed and they will be eligible to have their record expunged when they are 18 years old, Ferguson said.

The third AHS player was not charged or placed on a diversion agreement.

None of the AHS players, whose names are being withheld because they are minors, had prior records, according to Juvenile Services.

Formal accountability agreements are common with first-time offenders when there is a low risk to re-offend and conditions can be met without the need to file a petition and take a youth through juvenile court, Ferguson said.

After the Ashland Police Department spent six months investigating possible hazing incidents in dorm rooms at a football training camp held June 21-24, 2012, at Linfield College in McMinnville, they filed a 122-page summary and petition to the Jackson County District Attorney's Office.

One teen boy under the guardianship of the Oregon Youth Authority, who was not enrolled in AHS but attended the training camp with AHS players, was arrested in January on four counts of first-degree attempted sexual penetration with a finger and five counts of coercion for inducing AHS football players to engage in conduct constituting a crime. The youth, who has a record of assault and unlawful manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance, had practiced four times last summer with the AHS football team and was given permission to attend the football camp with the team and coaches.

His trial was set for May 3, but was postponed upon the request of his attorney. No new trial date has been set.

— Janet Eastman

Read more in Tuesday's paper.

Correction: Language has been corrected throughout this story to more accurately reflect the juvenile justice process.

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