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Sexual assault alleged to be part of high-profile hazing case

As many of our readers have no doubt noticed by now, a story about the alleged criminal conduct of several football players at a New Jersey high school has made significant headlines in recent days. The conduct in question allegedly involves hazing rituals and, most importantly, possible incidents of sexual assault.

According to the reports, the alleged incidents occurred over a 10-day span in late September -- just in the height of high school football season. Seven individuals have been arrested so far. It appears that four other football players were the targets of the alleged criminal conduct.

Sports teams throughout the country routinely give new players and younger players a hard time, but the instances of alleged hazing have been on the rise as some of this conduct is connected more with bullying, both physically and psychologically. Even players in one of the most popular sports leagues in the country, the National Football League, have been part of high-profile cases that have brought the question of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in the locker room to the forefront of the public discussion.

Some of the players involved in this most recent controversy in New Jersey are facing not only repercussions in their sports, but also in the criminal justice system. Three of the seven players who were arrested are facing sex crimes charges. The sexual contact that was alleged to have taken place between the suspects and the purported victims was said to include "sexual penetration." All of the players who were arrested are facing serious consequences, but for the three who are facing sex crimes charges their criminal defense strategy needs to be top-notch.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "7 football players arrested in New Jersey hazing, sexual assault case," James Queally, Oct. 11, 2014

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