I-TEAM: Emails and texts shed new light on violent hazing at high school football camp

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BEREA, Ohio -- The I-TEAM has obtained hundreds of pages of internal emails and text messages shedding light on what went on behind closed doors during the investigation into violent hazing at a camp for the Berea-Midpark High School football team.

Four players face criminal charges tied to sex assaults against 11 players.

The messages give us a glimpse into how coaches and administrators handled the hazing, and they show what made parents furious.

School leaders and coaches haven’t answered many questions from the I-TEAM on camera, and the coach has refused to tell us anything about supervision at the camp.

But in an email to his bosses he wrote, “2 coaches were assigned rooms in each floor," they did bed checks, and "coaches staying through the night were not to leave.”

The hazing didn’t become public until after the camp had ended back in June.

And the coach also wrote, he had only had a report of “players yelling obscenities and racial slurs.”

A parent of one victim told the I-TEAM that the sex assaults happened while coaches were watching the NBA basketball playoffs.

Parents have complained that the school district has been slow even to tell them anything, and the emails also reflect that.

Several parents wrote to the school administrators wondering why they hadn’t been told more.

One wrote, “I wish we could have heard from you before this was on FOX 8 news.”

The I-TEAM broke the news of the investigation.

We also found a waiver for parents of players going to the camp, and in the first paragraph it said the school district “has taken no action to ensure the safety and security of program participants and attendees and therefore assumes no related responsibility.”

Emails also show coaches have since gone through training on bullying and hazing, and players have gone through sensitivity training.

But, we saw nothing in the personnel file for the head coach about this.

That falls in line with what the superintendent told FOX 8, “We’re saying we did not find the coaches have done anything inappropriate.”

The criminal cases are still in the early stages moving through court.

One parent also wrote to the district complaining the players who were victims were made to feel as if they were to blame.

 

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