ANDOVER — For their initiation to the Andover High basketball team, two "newcomers" were given three sexually humiliating tasks to chose from: strip naked and grind against each other, strip naked and touch each other's genitals, or masturbate on a cookie and risk having to eat it.
According to the Andover Schools' investigation into a team hazing incident at a summer basketball camp, the two young players opted for the game of "wet biscuit," instead of having the "expletive" beaten out of them.
The schools' report on the investigation says the hazing was filmed using a Smartphone by a team captain — one of the ringleaders of the hazing.
The report, prepared by Andover High Principal Thomas Sharkey, was filed in Lawrence Superior Court Friday as part of legal action taken by two players who were at the camp and received three-day suspensions for failing to report the incident to school officials. The suit provides further disturbing details about the hazing and other disturbing incidents at the camp not previously made public.
The two students who filed the suit are freshmen at Andover High and seek to have their suspensions revoked. If the two are successful in obtaining an injunction against the Andover district, no references to their suspensions could be revealed to colleges or future employers, said Alex Cain, the lawyer who represents both boys.
"These students were absolutely concerned for their safety. They were concerned they could be next. The ringleaders then took active steps to silence them during the school year," said Cain, noting both boys had just graduated from eighth grade when they went to the basketball camp in July.
The hazing incident happened in early July at the Hoop Mountain basketball camp held at Stonehill College in Easton, but school officials were not made aware of it until mid-November. The two ringleaders have been expelled while five other students have received both school and team suspensions. David Fazio, Andover High head basketball coach and athletic director, was also briefly placed on administrative leave while the hazing was investigated.
Easton Police, with cooperation from Andover Police, investigated and now a grand jury has been convened in Bristol County to determine if any of the students should be charged criminally.
The Beverly-based Hoop Mountain has been tossed off Stonehill's campus.
The school's findings
Andover school officials have refused to comment publicly on their investigation, but the lawsuit filed Friday includes a copy of Sharkey's findings and the letters of suspensions to the two players.
For his report, Sharkey said he individually interviewed the nine students who attended the camp, contacted their parents, and also spoke with Fazio and Alan Hibino, assistant basketball coach.
Sharkey determined while the camp "was not a 'school-sponsored' event, our policies clearly apply to the conduct."
And while the media has been reporting on the game of "wet biscuit," Sharkey's report details other incidents and disturbing details.
Sharkey wrote all of the students interviewed told him that newcomers to the camp "were always subject to pranks." But some of the students told him the pranks that occurred this year "were much more extreme than what they had experienced as newcomers in the past," Sharkey wrote.
Two of the nine students were identified as newcomers and "were subjected to a number different acts of initiation." Maple syrup was poured on their sheets, clothes were taken and they were forced to walk through common areas naked. Excrement was left in one of their beds in a bag positioned to open up if someone leaned on it, Sharkey wrote.
Also, one "newcomer" student was awakened on the last night of camp when "dipspit," a mixture of chewing tobacco spit, was poured on his back and face." The boy "was forced to change his clothes, shower and sleep on the floor for the rest of the night," Sharkey wrote.
The "Cookie Incident," as Sharkey dubbed it in his report, occurred on the third day at camp when students were gathered in the dormitory in between basketball games. The two ringleaders gave the newcomers "three choices that had been conjured up during the stay at the camp," Sharkey wrote.
One ringleader told a younger boy he would "defecate on his face while he was sleeping if he did not participate," Sharkey wrote in his report.
Sharkey's investigation revealed two ringleaders "played the major role as leaders and initiators of the bullying/hazing incidents."
"They are cited as the primary perpetrators of the various incidents, and at the center of the Cookie Incident," he wrote.
A third student provoked the maple syrup and dipspit incidents, he wrote. The other four students involved "appear to be bystanders to the events often laughing at what was happening," he wrote.
At the end of camp, all nine students "agreed to remain silent regarding the events as they occurred at the camp."
The two players who filed suit said that while they were at Stonehill College, "they were rarely, if ever, subject to any parental supervision."
What happened after camp
Sharkey determined the hazing stopped when camp ended, but Cain's clients contend they were in "constant fear of retaliation and physical violence" when they started at Andover High.
The ringleaders told them personally and in text messages to "keep their mouths shut." And through Facebook, a social media site, one ringleader summoned all basketball players to meet and discuss how they were going to "squash any criminal or administrative investigation into the alleged hazing incidents," Cain wrote in court papers.
A copy of the Facebook page was also included as evidence in the boys' lawsuit.
Cain noted the incidents occurred in the summer before they attended Andover High. He said his clients were not aware of any obligation to report the incidents to school officials.
But Sharkey concluded "All nine of the students failed to report the incidents to anyone on the AHS staff or to the police." Sharkey added the behavior constitutes violations of the district's anti-bullying and anti-hazing policies.
Hazing is also illegal, although to date, no criminal charges have been filed in the Andover High case. Those convicted of hazing face a year in jail and $3,000 fine. Anyone who witnesses hazing but does not report it can be assessed a $1,000 fine, under state law.
A hearing on Cain's injunction request is scheduled for later this month.
• • •
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.