MASSILLON, Ohio (WJW) — An alleged hazing incident is under investigation involving about “half a dozen” Massillon Tigers football players and Head Football Coach Nate Moore has been suspended with pay.
According to police, the incident happened on June 26 at Massillon Washington High School inside the indoor football practice facility.
“We’re still looking into various aspects of the situation or situations that occurred,” said Superintendent Paul Salvino.
Salvino can’t comment specifically because of the investigations, but told FOX 8 that student safety and wellness is a top priority and the allegations are being taken seriously.
“There’s a specific situation that’s being thoroughly investigated by the Massillon Police Department and we are doing everything in our power to assist them,” said Salvino.
According to the police report, the players were “playing a game” where they would “rush” other teammates who let their guard down and attempt to “pin” then down or take an article of clothing.
It says the alleged victim was caught totally off guard and during a scuffle he wound up “losing his flip flops” and “his shorts” and he was left “naked” from the waist down.
At that point another player took a video and posted it on SnapChat, but he told police that as soon as he realized the victim was naked he deleted the video.
It’s unclear who saw the video, or if there were copies, but the report says coach Moore recovered or received one and turned it over to police.
The report also says other copies were deleted.
Although coach Moore was not present during the incident, the district said that he was placed on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation due to the lack of student supervision.
The report also includes statements from the victim and his mother.
Both he and his mom said, “it was stupid” and “things got out of hand.”
Mom also said that the alleged suspects are “all friends” with her son and that they do not “wish to pursue charges.”
But that may not be within their control, because the video includes a minor in a state of partial nudity and alleged hazing which are both illegal and could constitute Title IX Code of Conduct violations.
Police are reviewing surveillance video and said that charges could be filed if the video and witnesses statements do not match their claims.
The school district is also conducting its own investigation, but there is no word as to how long it could take.
“I can tell you I’m very confident in our approach with this we’re doing this process with fidelity and I know everyone is anxious to hear more comments but at this time we don’t have any additional information to give,” said Salvino.
Practice has resumed with the offensive coordinator filling in as head coach for now.