The principal of a Maryland high school has resigned following the alleged rapes of junior varsity football players by their teammates.
Damascus High School Principal Casey Crouse sent a letter to students, staff and family announcing her decision.
"The horrific incident of October 31 has demanded significant attention from school and system leadership and has drawn ongoing negative media attention," Crouse said in the letter. "Despite this attention, the focus inside the school during the school day has never wavered. However, it has become clear that in order for Damascus High School to move forward, it will require new school leadership."
Five boys are charged for the alleged rapes last fall.
Four victims were stomped on, laughed at and sexually abused with a broom in what the defendants called a hazing ritual, prosecutors said.
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.
It wasn't clear if there was an adult in or near the locker room at the time.
After the teens were charged, Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy objected to the use of the word hazing to described the alleged attacks.
"I’m offended by the term hazing," he 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.”
Four of the boys initially were charged as adults, but their cases were moved to juvenile court.
Crouse's resignation is effective immediately. She said Julius West Middle School Principal Kevin Yates will take over as interim principal at the high school Monday.
Crouse will take another position with Montgomery County Public Schools.