Sep. 30-NORWALK - Three juveniles allegedly involved in a hazing incident at Norwalk High School are scheduled to appear in Huron County Juvenile Court next week.
All three are facing charges.
On Aug. 10, in the varsity football locker room, two students restrained a player while another rubbed a sex toy on his mouth and poked his buttocks with it, according to a Norwalk police report filed on Aug. 25.
"Each of the three was charged with hazing, which is a misdemeanor in the second degree," court administrator Chris Mushett said. According to court papers, "They did recklessly participate in hazing of an individual in the locker room."
"One, who is now 18 years old, is charged with assault," he added. "That is a first-degree misdemeanor," Mushett said. "The second subject, a 16-year-old, in addition to hazing, was charged with unlawful restraint. That is a misdemeanor in the third degree.
"The third youth, 16, was charged with tampering with evidence which is a felony in the third degree."
Mushett said that boy is accused of taking a video and sending it on Snapchat to the "Band of Brothers Group Chat," and he recently deleted the video prior to his interview with officer Andrew Hemenway.
The juvenile charged with unlawful restraint is due in court on Monday. The juveniles charged with assault and tampering with evidence are due in court on Oct. 7, Mushett said.
Mushett said none of the three has any priors with the juvenile court.
"The kid charged with assault turned 18 about three weeks after the incident," Mushett said. "Since it happened when he was 17, he will be charged and tried as a juvenile."
Mushett said the three could face time in a juvenile detention center.
Alison Crawford, a board of education member of Norwalk Schools, told the Norwalk Reflector the district has hired an outside firm to investigate the situation.
Handling the case is Flannery Georgalis LCC, a mid-sized private law firm located in downtown Cleveland.
"We already have a lawyer that is on staff all the time," Crawford said. "They handle negotiations for us and things like that. We have kept in contact with them to make sure we are doing everything correctly.
"They suggested we bring in a third-party investigative team ... make sure our kids are safe. It is an outside third party. They are doing an investigation right now and they will report back to us. They are checking with players, coaches, teachers, the administration. Make sure we are doing everything right."
Crawford said the board is doing their best to make sure everything is done the right way.
"I have requested emails," she said. "I did a normal record request like anybody can do. That information will go to the investigative team. I put in the request a few days ago. They still have a ton of emails to go through. I hope it will be soon."
Multiple parents spoke out at the Sept. 20 board of education meeting about the incident. On Sept. 23, football coach and NHS school counselor Todd Fox was placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.
In his fifth season as football coach, it is alleged that Fox "failed to report inappropriate behavior between members of the football team that occurred on the football field in June 2022," according to a statement released by Norwalk City Schools Superintendent Brad Cooley.