15-year-old Maryland football players face life in prison for alleged locker-room broomstick rape on teammates

Four Maryland junior varsity football players are facing life in prison after being charged as adults for first degree rape attacks against teammates.

The four Damascus High School 15-year-olds were released on bail Monday, but are facing charges in “astonishingly cruel” sexual assaults on four male victims, according to Fox News.

The four 14-year-olds, all freshmen, were attacked before junior varsity football practice on Halloween in “an assault involving a broom,” police said.

Jean Claude Abedi, Kristian Jamal Lee, Will Smith and Caleb Thorpe were out on bail Monday while a fifth teenager charged as a juvenile is facing lesser second-degree rape charges, Fox5 DC reported.

According to Fox News:

The alleged attack involved a four-foot broom, authorities said. One freshman tried to escape the room but was allegedly blocked, the report said. An alleged victim told police that two players “threw him on the floor” and held his feet down, authorities said. He reportedly said he and was “poked in his buttocks with the wooden broom.” Police said the three others were attacked in a similar way, Fox 5 DC reported.

“Victim C said after they finished with him, they proceeded to Victim A where they pulled Victim A’s sweatshirt over the top of his head, punched him in the face, knocked him on his back and stomped on him,” investigators said in an arrest document.

 

One of the teen victims reportedly was told it was “tradition” after he asked an attacker to stop, police said in court documents. The alleged assaults were discovered after a father found his son, one of the victims, sobbing in his room later that night, according to Fox5 DC.

“The defendants’ conduct was astonishingly cruel,” Montgomery deputy state’s attorney Peter Feeney said. “Each defendant played a significant role in carrying out their plan to sexually assault the victims in this case, whether it was pushing, punching, stomping, holding down, tackling or wielding the broom. The crimes could only have been committed with the active participation of each defendant.”

Defense attorney Daniel Wright described the assaults as “a hazing incident that went to an extreme.”

But prosecutor John McCarthy vehemently disagreed.

“I would caution anyone to refer to this as hazing,” McCarthy said. “These boys were victims of criminal acts. They were not victims of hazing. They were victims of first degree rapes and attempted rapes. These were crimes.”

Smith reportedly told police that “the broom” was used for generations, according to court documents, though no reports of anything similar happening at the school have surfaced.

Montgomery County police were notified about an incident at the school just one day before the teens were set to appear in court as broomsticks turned up around the campus.

Police removed the brooms and, along with Montgomery County Public Schools staff members, cleared the area of any more.

Damascus High School Principal Casey Crouse informed parents about the incident in a letter on Monday, according to Fox 5 DC.

“Sunday evening multiple brooms were found attached to areas on and near the Damascus High School grounds. The police were notified and the items were quickly removed. MCPS staff members and MCPD officers surveyed the areas again Monday morning to ensure that the area was clear of the offensive items,” the letter stated.

“This act is extremely upsetting and clearly demonstrates an attempt to harm the well-being of DHS students, staff and community,” Crouse continued. “An investigation is underway and any person found responsible for this will be assigned consequences according to all applicable laws and in accordance with the MCPS Code of Conduct.”

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Frieda Powers

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