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Kent Island lacrosse hazing leads to Department of Juvenile Services referrals

Posted at 12:01 PM, May 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-25 12:01:09-04

Five players from the Kent Island High School Junior Varsity Boys' Lacrosse team will be referred to the Department of Juvenile Services by the Queen Anne's County Sheriff after an investigation into an April hazing incident.

A video from April 13, shared with WMAR, seems to depict a group of players holding down another player in a locker room, rubbing their buttocks and possibly genitals on the detained player's face. After the video was shared, the Office of the Sheriff began an investigation into the incident. On April 20, the school forfeited the remainder of the junior varsity team's season

On May 22, the Sheriff referred five members of the team to DJS for the offenses of false imprisonment and second degree assault. The juveniles will be screened by DJS, who will then determine the required "guidance, treatment and rehabilitation pursuant to the standard protocol of the department," according to a release issued by the Office of the State's Attorney of Queen Anne's County. 

“We did want to react in haste before we thoroughly investigated the matter," Lance Richardson, the State's Attorney for Queen Anne's County, said in a release. "It is the best practice to ensure proper identifications are made and evidence is thoroughly reviewed before charging whenever possible.”

DJS protocol is partially based on if the juveniles had any prior contact with the juvenile justice system, the nature of the allegations they face, and other factors. 

Kent Island High School opened its own investigation into the incident as well, and the Office of the State's Attorney subpoenaed the school for the materials from that investigation after the school refused to turn over those documents for fear of federal privacy rights constraints. 

The county state's attorney's office and the sheriff's office collaborated to review both investigations and determine the appropriate consequences, leading to the DJS referrals. Any further sanctions for the Queen Anne's County School System will be independent of Tuesday's referrals.