- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - Hazing at Oregon’s Philomath High School happened for years before it came under scrutiny following an incident last summer at a football training camp, according to the district’s attorney.

Philomath School District lawyer Paul Dakopolos said there is evidence of hazing incidents involving the school’s football team, wrestling team and boys’ basketball team dating to at least 2010, reported The Corvallis Gazette-Times reports (http://bit.ly/2jgQTcA ).

The information came from an investigation conducted by Dakopolos‘ office after the discovery of a hazing incident at a football training camp on the Oregon coast last July. A 22-year-old former volunteer coach has entered a no contest plea to charges in the incident.

Prosecutors have said that the coach failed to protect the students. Eleven freshmen had intimate parts of their bodies targeted.

Dakopolos said his investigator interviewed eight current students, two former students, a parent of a former student, all varsity football coaches at the training camp, a junior varsity football coach and coaches of other sports. However, most alleged victims and the alleged perpetrator declined to be interviewed by the investigator, Dakopolos said.

The investigation found that all the junior varsity coaches and the head coach were aware of the inappropriate physical contact during the training camp, Dakopolos said.

The victims were scared during the incidents and some said they did not report the hazing because coaches were in the room when some of it happened, according to Dakopolos.

School coaches have reported hazing in the past, but the administration did not pass the information as required by law to law enforcement or the Oregon Department of Human Services, Dakopolos said.

“The failure to discipline student athletes and coaches involved in incidents of hazing has created a misperception that the behavior is acceptable,” he said.

The district that serves the small western Oregon city of Philomath has responded by scheduling more training for coaches, offering parental information meetings about hazing and adding anti

The district plans to take several actions to prevent future hazing, according to Superintendent Melissa Goff, including more training for coaches, address hazing at parental information meetings and adding anti-bullying and anti-hazing training to the school’s curriculum.

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Information from: Gazette-Times, http://www.gtconnect.com

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