What to Know
- Four 15-year-old boys were charged as adults after an alleged rape in the boys locker room of Damascus High School in Damascus, Maryland.
- Students told News4 the suspects and victims were all members of the junior varsity football team.
- In a letter to parents, Principal Casey Crouse referred to hazing.
Editor's Notes (Feb. 15, 2019, 6:38 p.m. ET; Feb. 22, 2019, 5:18 p.m. ET; March 14, 2019, 7:45 p.m. ET; March 21, 2019, 11:37 a.m. EST): This story has been updated to reflect that the cases of three teenagers charged in adult court were moved to juvenile court.
Four 15-year-old boys accused of raping of fellow junior varsity football players inside a Damascus High School locker room have been released on $20,000 bond.
A judge also ordered the suspects to stay away from the high school and the alleged victims.
All four teens were were charged as adults. Their cases were later moved to juvenile court, on Feb. 15, Feb. 22, March 14 and March 21. News4 does not name suspects charged as juveniles.
A fifth juvenile, whom police did not name, remains charged as a juvenile.
The suspects targeted their smallest teammates, who they thought wouldn't fight back, police said. The suspects entered the locker room while the victims were changing for practice, investigators said.
Prosecutors told the judge the victims were stomped on, laughed at and thrown to the ground in an act the defendants are calling a hazing ritual.
“I’m offended by the term hazing,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said. “It’s not hazing these are crimes, and I would caution anyone to refer to this as hazing. These boys were victims of criminal acts. They were not victims of hazing, they were victims of first-degree rapes.”
The alleged attacks occurred Oct. 31. It wasn't clear if there was an adult in or near the locker room at the time.
Prosecutors said they reviewed all the evidence and determined the four 15-year-olds should be tried as adults.
The attorneys for the boys disagreed.
"He's never had any kind of disciplinary problem," said David Felson, who represented one of the teens. "He has been an excellent student despite difficulties that he has."
No one who works at Damascus High has been suspended or fired. The superintendent said any disciplinary actions would occur once the police investigation is complete.