Possible Football Hazing Leads to Charges for Five Damascus Students


Photo by Olivia De'Ath

Varsity football fell to the Damascus Hornets Sept. 15 at Richard Montgomery High School. Recently five players on the Hornets’ JV team were charged for an alleged assault.

Aidan Brami and Anna Stewart

Five Damascus High Schools JV football players have been charged after allegations of hazing in the boys locker room after school on Halloween which resulted in the cancellation of their final game of the season.

The Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) charged one player with three counts of second-degree rape; three players with two counts of second-degree rape and two counts of attempted second-degree rape; and the fifth player with one count of attempted second-degree rape Nov 2. Three of the players have been arrested and because they are minors, their names have not been released.

The event being investigated and the current allegations involve the use of a wooden broomstick to sodomize four victims on the Damascus Hornets JV football team.

In a Nov. 1 email to the school community, Damascus principal Casey Crouse called the behavior “upsetting and unacceptable” and stressed that the alleged locker room rapes did not involve any members of the varsity team, which is currently riding a 53-game winning streak, one of the longest high school football win streaks in the country’s history.  

The trials will be through the juvenile court system. A teenager convicted of second degree rape in the juvenile system will typically be placed in a juvenile facility for six to nine months or be allowed to stay with a family member while wearing an electronic monitor, Rockville defense attorney and former prosecutor Paul Zmuda told the Washington Post Nov. 2.

Superintendent Jack R. Smith released a letter to the MCPS community Nov. 3 saying that MCPS was fully cooperating with authorities and promising that schools would be speaking with students across the county about issues of hazing, bullying and harassment.   

With this recent news, players and coaches across the county have reinforced the importance of not allowing any hazing in their programs.

“There is a zero tolerance policy for hazing,” said Jason Lomax, varsity football head coach for Rockville High School. “If we catch any of our players hazing, they one will be reprimanded and then two will be thrown off the team.”

Lomax said he not only made this policy clear to both the varsity and JV football teams, but also emphasized that their main focus should be improving their football skills–there is never a time for hazing.

“As captains, we make sure everyone is in line and knows what’s okay and what isn’t.  We would never let anything [inappropriate] happen,” senior captain Jaylon Harry said.  “Football is too important.”