By Mark E. Vogler
ANDOVER — A former Andover High School basketball player has received supervised probation and mandatory counseling after admitting to his involvement in a hazing incident during a summer basketball camp at Stonehill College in 2011.
Taunton District Court Judge Kevin Cunningham on Monday continued the case against Craig Luschenat, 19, without a finding for two years after he agreed to settle the case instead of going forward with a criminal trial, according to a statement released yesterday by Bristol County District Attorney Samuel Sutter’s office.
Luschenat, now a freshman and a member of the basketball team at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine, was one of seven Andover High School basketball players accused of forcing two students into playing a humiliating sex game in July of 2011 at a sleepover basketball camp hosted by the Hoop Mountain Basketball Camp at Stonehill College in Easton. He was charged with another player who was a minor. The juvenile’s case is still pending.
“If the defendant is charged with any new crimes during the next two years or if he violates the conditions set by the judge, a guilty finding will be entered, he would be re-sentenced and could face potential jail time,” Sutter’s office said in a two-page statement.
Because the two victims in the case were juveniles at the time, the district attorney’s office declined to release specific details about the hazing incident. The prosecutor also noted no further information could be released about the juvenile’s pending criminal case.
“There were three distinct concerns that we set out to address in this prosecution,” District Attorney Sutter said in a statement. He consulted with the families of both victims before agreeing to the disposition of these criminal case against Luschenat.
“First, was accountability and consequences for the defendant. With his admission and two years of supervised probation, and mandatory counseling, and the other conditions of probation, that concern was addressed,” Sutter said.
“Second, was attaining an outcome which met with the approval of the victims and their parents. That was also done. And finally, obtaining a sentence which made it clear that any incident like this in Bristol County, will be diligently investigated and firmly prosecuted. We believe that too was accomplished,” he said.
Easton Police filed an application for criminal complaint with the Taunton District Court Clerk’s Office last month against Luschenat and another individual who was a juvenile at the time of the incidents after an extensive investigation of the hazing allegations.
Because the potential charges of hazing are misdemeanors, Luschenat was scheduled for a closed door Clerk Magistrate Hearing in Taunton District Court on Monday. The clerk would have determined if enough probable cause existed to formally charge him with the crimes of hazing. If criminal charges were issued, he would then have been summonsed into court for a formal arraignment.
But Luschenat was charged with two counts of hazing after waving a clerk magistrate hearing, according to Sutter’s office.
“Mr. Luschenat admitted to sufficient facts of the case after his arraignment in Taunton District Court. Judge Kevin Cunningham then sentenced Mr. Luschenat to a continuation without a finding for the term of two years, which included supervised probation, mandatory counseling for a minimum of three months, continue counseling for as long is as deemed necessary by his therapist, stay away from both victims, and stay away from all Andover High School basketball games (both home and away),” the District Attorney’s office said in its statement.
Luschenat was one of seven students initially kicked off the Andover High basketball team due to the incident. However, five of the players, who were led by two alleged ringleaders, were later allowed to rejoin the team several weeks later after serving three-day suspensions. The two ring leaders were not allowed back on the team.
Andover High head basketball coach David Fazio was also briefly placed on administrative leave while the hazing was investigated. The case was later the subject of a probe by a Bristol County Grand Jury.
Luschenat’s biography from St. Joseph’s College website notes he “Played three years of varsity basketball for David Fazio at Andover High School, making the Division I Tournament every year ... earned Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star honors ... averaged 15 points and 6 assists his junior year.”
It also said that Luschenat is a reserve guard at St. Joseph’s College, playing in 10 of the team’s 13 games. He’s averaging 2.6 points a game.
The son of Robert and Lynette Luschenat, he is majoring in Business and Sports Management.
Eagle-Tribune Assistant Sports Editor Michael Muldoon contributed to this report.