Damascus High School JV football players accused of hazing teammates with broomstick

Kevin Lewis/ABC7

Montgomery County Police are investigating allegations of extreme hazing within the Damascus High School junior varsity football team.

According to multiple sources within law enforcement, the school system and football program, the alleged hazing took place in a men's locker room on Halloween Day, and involved the use of a wooden broomstick in a sexual manner. Although it is immediately unclear how many athletes took part in the hazing, police confirm there are multiple underage, male victims.

In an email to parents and guardians sent Thursday afternoon, Damascus High School principal Casey Crouse called the reports "upsetting and unacceptable."

"Any student who is found to have hazed another student will be disciplined in accordance with the MCPS Student Code of Conduct and may also face legal consequences," Crouse wrote (see her full letter below).

Investigators have taken at least one male student in for questioning. However, as of Thursday evening, no criminal charges had been filed, though that may very well change.

“I think that the victims should be helped in any way they can and I think the people who did it should be charged," said student Dylan Jenkins.

RELATED: 3 Loudoun County high school students charged in football locker room assault case

In her email, Crouse underscored that the school's prized, and wildly successful varsity football team does not appear to have taken part in the locker room hazing.

As of October 19, Damascus' varsity football team had the longest winning streak in the nation with 51 straight victories. Simply put, football is king in the rural town of 15,000, the players idolized.

During afternoon dismissal Thursday, a number of students, some claiming to have direct ties to Damascus' football program, explained hazing has been a longstanding tradition at Damascus.

“When I was a freshman, freshman hell week was still a thing here and it used to be they would draw something on the football player," said student William "Bugg" Floyd. "The hazing thing was [targeted at] the lowest person who wasn’t sure if they wanted to stay in football.”

As a result of the allegations, the JV team forfeited its Thursday evening game against Sherwood High School.

Reached by telephone, Damascus' athletic director, Joe Doody, declined to share details about next steps.

“Listen, we’re still in the stages of trying to figure out what happened and we’ll deal with it as we learn more," Doody stated.

Full letter from Principal Casey Crouse:

Dear Parents and Guardians:
I am writing to inform you of serious allegations involving our students and how they are being addressed. Today, my administration was informed of allegations of hazing by members of the junior varsity football team against their fellow team members. These allegations are being investigated by the Montgomery County Police Department. At this time, the allegations are unrelated to the varsity football team.
The alleged behavior is upsetting and unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Damascus HS. In response to these allegations, we have forfeited today’s junior varsity football game. Any student who is found to have hazed another student will be disciplined in accordance with the MCPS Student Code of Conduct and may also face legal consequences.
Damascus High School is committed to the safety of all students. While this is an ongoing investigation, I cannot provide any additional information about this matter at this time.
Thank you for your continued support for our school and students.
Casey Crouse
Prince, Damascus High School"

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