NORMAN, Okla. — Four high school wrestlers in Oklahoma have been charged with raping two of their male teammates during a hazing incident last month.
Tanner Shipman, 18, Sage Gandenberger, 17, and Chase Smith, 16, are charged with two counts of first-degree rape by instrumentation by force and fear, and first-degree rape by instrumentation of a victim under the age of 14. Hunter Matthews, 17, is charged with one count of first-degree rape by instrumentation of a victim under the age of 14. The charges are all felonies.
According to reports, the students from the Norman North High School junior varsity wrestling team are accused of sexually assaulting two teammates, ages 16 and 12, on the bus and outside of the school.
“Shipman, Gandenberger and Smith each assaulted the 16-year-old at the back of the bus by restraining him and using their fingers to sexually assault the boy over his clothing,” reports local television station News9. “Later, all four suspects attempted to lure a 12-year-old middle school wrestler to the back of the bus as well, before pulling the boy to the back. All four suspects then assault the boy in the same manner as before.”
Reports state that the 12-year-old was assaulted a second time after returning to the school, both outside of the building and in the parking lot, and did not stop until his parents arrived.
Police investigated the situation, which occurred as the wrestling team returned from an event in Paul’s Valley, and concluded that “multiple acts of sexual assault” took place. An adjunct coach was also fired in light of the situation and a second coach suspended. A number of students not charged were also suspended as well.
“As we address the inappropriate behavior displayed by several students, we remain committed to supporting the vast majority of our student athletes, who are quality individuals that demonstrate positive behavior and strong character traits,” Joseph Siano, superintendent of Norman Public Schools, said in a statement.
On Friday, Austin Quinton, 24, a teacher at nearby Choctaw High School in Oklahoma City, was likewise arrested on multiple counts of rape in the first degree for having sexual contact with a female student. He doubled as a wrestling coach for the school.
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