College Players Face Felony Charges for Hazing

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A March 2016 incident in which a freshman football player at Wheaton (Ill.) College was kidnapped from his dorm room, restrained with duct tape, beaten and left half-naked and hurt in a baseball field has landed five other players on the team in legal trouble.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the players — James Cooksey, Kyler Kregel, Benjamin Pettway, Noah Spielman and Samuel TeBos — were charged with aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint. They are expected to turn themselves into authorities this week.

The victim in the case reportedly left Wheaton College after the incident, and now attends school in Indiana.

“This has had a devastating effect on my life,” the victim told the Tribune in a statement. “What was done to me should never occur in connection with a football program or any other activity.”

The school’s athletic department has a zero tolerance policy on hazing, which it describes as “any action or activity that recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of a person, or that violates the dignity of another person.” Student-athletes are required to sign a form that certifies they understand the policy.

In the wake of the allegations, Wheaton College said in a statement that it was “deeply troubled,” and said it had hired a third party investigator last year. The school said it took “corrective actions,” but citing privacy laws, didn’t describe the details of any punishment.

Three of the five players who were charged played in the school’s most recent football game, and all were listed on the team’s roster. 

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