The Cache County Sheriff’s Office recently concluded an investigation into a severe hazing incident within the Cache County School District. According to the sheriff’s office, “investigators have requested that three of the juvenile suspects be charged with one count each of forcible sexual abuse and one count each of attempted forcible sexual abuse.” They are also asking parents to encourage their children to stand up and speak out when they see something wrong.
A statement from the school district outlines the incident: “On Friday, August 19th, an incident occurred on a school bus that involved Ridgeline High School football players. School and district administrators were made aware of the incident by the Cache County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday, August 21st, and an immediate joint investigation ensued. Three football players were identified as alleged offenders, and all three players were suspended from both school and the football team pending the outcome of the investigation.”
The Cache County Sheriff’s Office further outlines the incident in a separate statement. “The investigation determined that there had been three juvenile suspects who had allegedly engaged in, or attempted to engage in, activity of a forcible sexual nature with several juvenile victims. Investigators have requested that three of the juvenile suspects be charged with one count each of forcible sexual abuse and one count each of attempted forcible sexual abuse. As all involved individuals are juveniles, any charges will be filed through the juvenile court system.”
The investigation has been turned over to the Cache County Attorney’s Office where it is under review.
Right now, the sheriff’s office is urging parents to sit down with their children and encourage them to speak up when their peers are doing something they shouldn’t. This incident is a good example of when speaking up matters. Lt. Boyle Peck added: “Three people doing something wrong means three people doing something wrong. All we’re asking people to do is to stand up and say, ‘No, this isn’t right. Let’s not do this.'”
Lt. Peck (CCSO) told ABC4 that like most people who heard about the hazing, he was disappointed and even angry that it took place. “We look at this and we go, ‘Boy, you would think we’d be beyond this by now,’” he stated.
Lt. Peck told ABC4 that the schools in the county work with law enforcement (via resource officers) to teach their students the dangers and legal ramifications of bullying, hazing, etc. He said, “Unfortunately, we are dealing with juveniles who sometimes don’t think things through.”
When the district’s investigation closed, additional actions were taken. In a written statement to ABC4, the district outlines those actions. “After the school district’s investigation concluded on September 1st, all three players were removed from the football team, banned from participation in any extracurricular activities, and removed from Ridgeline High School. After a 10-day suspension, all three students were allowed to continue their education at other district schools under close supervision.”
The Cache County Sheriff’s Office released its findings to the public on September 14.
“If that can happen when you’re on a supervised school activity, right? Where you’re supposed to be safe, and you have supervision, and people who are supposed to take care of you. Like, it makes the whole world feel a little less safe,” Echo Baysinger told ABC4 after hearing of the investigation.
Baysinger is a Cache County resident and went to school in the area. He, like many, was upset by the incident. “Raise your kids better, people,” he stated. “If you raise them to think that’s okay, then it’s going to continue this toxic cycle.”
Lt. Peck says told ABC4 that it’s been years since there was a hazing case of this nature, or one that needed such an extensive investigation. While the incident may not have been prevented, he emphasized that it could have been far less severe had someone stood up to the three suspects.
“We want parents to teach our kids and their kids what is right and what is wrong and then make sure they feel comfortable to stand up and uphold those values,” Lt. Peck stated. “It doesn’t matter if someone else is doing something. It doesn’t make it right.”
Lt. Peck told ABC4 that the school district did everything it could to help the progress of the investigation. For that he is thankful. He also said the district offers counseling services to those affected by the incident.