EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 27, 2011

Alleged hazing involved sex game

'Distraught' player reported incident at summer basketball camp

By Bill Burt

ANDOVER — The investigation into an alleged hazing incident involving the Andover High boys basketball program centers around an allegation that two underclassman were coaxed into playing a humiliating sex game.

The Easton Police Department is now investigating the incident, which occurred in early July at the Hoop Mountain overnight basketball camp held at Stonehill College in Easton.

A source close to the investigation confirmed nine members of the basketball team were attending the camp when two young players were coaxed into playing a game called "wet biscuit" in one of the dorm rooms. The loser of the game had to eat an Oreo cookie covered with a bodily fluid.

Calls to an Easton Police Department spokesman were not returned, and the Andover Police Department has refused comment on the investigation.

School officials have also refused to talk about the incident, but posted a statement on the school website Wednesday saying, "A full investigation commenced immediately upon the administration's receipt of allegations and is nearly completed."

Andover High boys varsity basketball coach David Fazio, who is entering his 22nd season at the school, was not available for comment, but his attorney, Michael Morris of Andover, spoke on his behalf.

Morris said another Andover High coach informed Fazio on Nov. 11 of allegations made by a player on the basketball team.

"Mr. Fazio acted promptly, compassionately, professionally, legally and morally by responding to the boy and his parents, some of the parents of other boys involved, to the Andover Police and his superiors all at the first opportunity," Morris said. "Mr. Fazio did everything possible to deal with this 4-month-old situation. This is not a school-related issue."

Morris refused further comment and would not comment on any aspects of the investigation.

The source said the boy who made the allegations was one of the two boys who was coaxed into playing the game.

Fazio, who is also a physical education teacher at Andover High, talked to the "distraught" victim and then met with the boy and his parents, who were unaware of the incident. Fazio then organized a meeting with the two team leaders and their parents, at the request of the victim's parents.

The other underclassman who was coaxed into playing the game has reportedly transferred to another school.

Andover High basketball players have been going to Hoop Mountain for six years. One attraction of the camp for players is that most of the coaches are assistant coaches with prestigious schools in the New England Small College Athletic Conference and the Ivy League.

Before the summer camp, Fazio met with all of the players in his junior varsity and varsity programs, including 29 boys this year, to talk about the summer camp option. Attending the camp is not mandatory.

Hoop Mountain basketball director Steve Gibbs did not respond to a phone call or an email seeking comment.

In early 2002, Pentucket Regional High in West Newbury was rocked by a hazing scandal when a 15-year-old football player came forward to say he and other young players had been sexually assaulted by older players at a training camp in New Hampshire the previous summer.

The Groveland boy said he was held down and "tea-bagged" by an older player who dragged his testicles across his face.

In the wake of the incident, a "zero-tolerance" anti-hazing policy was instituted, several students were suspended and a criminal investigation was launched by New Hampshire state police. though no charges were filed.

Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett's spokesman Stephen O'Connell said the office is not involved in any investigation into the Andover High incident. He referred all inquiries to Andover Public Schools.

Easton is in Bristol County in southeastern Massachusetts.