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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

5 Wheaton College Students Facing Felony Charges over Hazing Incident

  • Ryan Duncan
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2017 Sep 20
  • Comments

Five Wheaton College students are facing felony charges after being accused of a brutal 2016 hazing incident which left one freshman in need of serious medical attention. According to the Chicago Tribune, a DuPage County judge signed arrest warrants for James Cooksey, Kyler Kregel, Benjamin Pettway, Noah Spielman and Samuel TeBos - all members of the Wheaton College football team – late on Monday afternoon. Prosecutors are charging the five with aggravated battery, mob action, and unlawful restraint.

The victim of the incident, who was not named, claimed that on March 19, 2016, the five teammates entered his dorm room and tackled him. When the student kicked his legs and yelled at them to stop, he was punched and his legs and wrists were tied with duct tape. The five players then allegedly pulled a pillowcase over the 19-year-old freshman's head and carried him out to one of the attacker’s car. Once the vehicle began moving, the players put on Middle Eastern music, made offensive comments about Muslims, and insinuated the freshmen had been kidnapped by Muslims who wanted to fornicate with goats, all while suggesting he would be their “goat” for the evening.

The victim told investigators that the five players restrained him with more duct tape, pulled down his shorts and underwear, then tried to insert an object into his rectum. When he yelled for them to stop, he was beaten again, he said.

Eventually the players drove to an off-campus location, took the freshman’s cell phone, and left him half-naked in a field. The victim claimed he had no idea where he was or how to get back to campus, and only managed to return because a second student was dumped in the field 10 minutes later. The two were later able to secure a ride back to campus with a classmate who had come looking for the second individual.

The Tribune recounts how the teen suffered a great deal of physical and emotional trauma in the hazing aftermath,

“After he became overcome by emotion in the emergency room, a nurse called police and collected evidence, according to the records. His grandparents later came to the hospital and took him back to their home to spend the night. The next day, his father drove to Wheaton College and moved the teen out of the dorm. He withdrew from the school a short time later.”

“The former Wheaton student said his injuries required two surgeries since leaving the west suburban campus, according to investigative records.”

Wheaton has yet to comment on the incident, but has confirmed it remains, “Committed to providing Christ-centered development programs and training to all our students.” All Wheaton athletes are required to sign an anti-hazing policy which prohibits them from engaging in rituals designed to humiliate or degrade another student. However, this is not the first time Wheaton athletics has been cited in controversial activates.

(Image Credit:ChristofferLukasMüller/wikimediacommons)

*Published 9/20/2017