Sex assaults as part of team ‘hazing’ minimized, often not prosecuted

The nationally ranked Parkview High School baseball team lost players to school discipline after hazing in 2015  that included what some parents described as a sexual assault.
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The nationally ranked Parkview High School baseball team lost players to school discipline after hazing in 2015  that included what some parents described as a sexual assault.

The Gwinnett County school district initially said it was investigating a group of baseball players in 2015 for “misbehavior” and “inappropriate physical contact.”

What it didn't reveal was that a younger teammate had reported being sexually assaulted. Even after the players were disciplined for sexual battery, the district cited student confidentiality to withhold details from the public and described the incident as hazing.

Across the U.S., perhaps nowhere is student-on-student sexual assault as dismissed or as camouflaged as in boys’ sports, an Associated Press investigation found. Mischaracterized as hazing and bullying, the violence is so normalized on some teams that it persists for years.

The AP examined sexual violence in school sports as part of its larger look at student-on-student sex assaults. Analyzing state education records, supplemented by federal crime data, AP found about 17,000 official reports of sex assaults by students in grades K-12 over a recent four-year period.

A detailed picture of specific incidents was revealed when the AP reviewed more than 300 cases of student-on-student sexual violence that surfaced through law enforcement records, lawsuits, interviews and news accounts. In those cases, the sports setting emerged as a leading venue for such attacks.

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