Cromwell High School Football Player Charged in Hazing Incident

A 16-year-old member of the Cromwell-Portland football team has been charged with breach of peace and hazing in connection with an incident that happened before practice last week, according to police.

Cromwell police said the player walked around the locker room and struck four freshman teammates with a belt before practice at Cromwell High School on Aug. 25.

Another team member turned off the lights and someone told the victims, "this never happened," according to police.

Police said the victims suffered minor injuries, including welts on their bodies. Their parents reported the incident.

Although investigators believe other members of the team were involved in the hazing incident, police said in a news release Thursday "conflicting statements" prevented them from being able to "establish (probable) cause to charge any other team members."

A district source close to the investigation said the head football coach has been placed on leave.

Cromwell and Portland school officials said both districts are investigating the allegations, along with the Department of Children and Families.

"The DCF findings will dictate what further steps and or disciplinary actions will be taken," Cromwell superintendent Dr. Paula Talty said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

Cromwell police said it's the first hazing complaint they've received against the school.

According to the superintendent's office, in 2013, a former track coach posted a video of a team member jumping from a roof with an umbrella as part of a ritual, but the incident wasn't classified as hazing because the student was an upperclassman.

The coach was terminated because of a "lack of good professional judgment."

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