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Students reach plea deal amid investigation into sexual assault with broom handle on ‘no gay Thursday’

Joseph McCormick January 4, 2017

A plea deal has been reached by students at the centre of an investigation into alleged sexual assault using a broom handle on what was called ‘no gay Thursdays’.

Beware the below story contains graphic descriptions of a sexual assault.

Longtime Conestoga High School head football coach John Vogan was suspended from all coaching duties, while prosecutors investigated the case in which a teenager was held down by three more senior students and penetrated with a broom handle on what was commonly known “no gay Thursdays”.

Last year it was announced by the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District that Vogan was stepping down with immediate effect.

The entire varsity and junior football staff had been relieved of its coaching duties until at least the end of the Autumn season.

Now a plea deal has been reached with the students being investigated for the hazing ritual.

A joint statement has now been issued by Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan and attorneys for the players involved.

The statement reads that the students “briefly poked the victim with a broomstick in the leg.”

“The intent of the charged juveniles was to scare the victim and coerce him to cooperate with other team members in the joint cleanup of the locker room, and not to do the victim any physical harm.”

The students were charged with assault, unlawful restraint, making terroristic threats and other related offences.

But they were never charged with sexual assault or any other sex crime.

Pennsylvania’s crimes against hazing cover colleges, but not schools, so were not applied in this case.

Following its own investigation last year, the school district said the following had taken place: “Hazing activities occurred with some members of the football team over the past several years, including back slapping, horseplay, and obscene behaviours targeted toward underclassmen.

“These activities sometimes occurred under the label of ‘No Gay Thursday.’

“No interviews or other evidence indicated that any adult had knowledge of these activities.

“The locker rooms had an insufficient adult presence throughout the football season, creating an environment where hazing activities could occur.”

The letter goes on to say that ‘No Gay Thursday’ is “ignorant, intolerant, and has no place in any school”, “even though no gay students were specific targets of discrimination, the practice itself is an affront to us all.”

It goes on: “Disciplinary action has been administered to students as appropriate, and consequences were applied per the school’s disciplinary code of conduct. All students affected by these activities have been offered support from the school.”

“The head football coach has resigned effective immediately from all coaching responsibilities. The entire varsity and junior varsity football staff has also been relieved of all coaching responsibilities in all sports through the fall season. In addition, we are recommending the creation of a full-time District Athletic Director position for middle school and high school sports programs. With a full-time District Athletic Director, we will have the benefit of a leader who can make District goals for our athletes a priority without the demand of other administrative responsibilities.”

More: broom handle, Conestoga, hazing, US

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