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Article updated: 12/3/2012 2:43 PM

Superintendent: Hoffman Estates hazing didn't involve sexual misconduct

By Jessica Cilella

Officials from Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 have released a statement saying that reports of hazing involving the Hoffman Estates High School boys' varsity basketball team that surfaced last week did not involve sexual misconduct.

According to a statement Monday from Superintendent Nancy Robb, several players would pile onto a targeted player and engage in "grabbing horseplay, slapping, and hitting the targeted player in areas that included the buttocks and sometimes in the groin."

The players who were targeted were clothed at the time of the "initiation" and contact was made on top of the player's clothing, the statement said. An initial report that the hazing also involved sexual misconduct wasn't substantiated, the statement said.

Upon hearing about the hazing last Friday, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was immediately notified because of the sexual misconduct allegation and a team of 15 school officials conducted interviews with all 14 players and the coach. The hazing occurred off campus and without the knowledge of the coaches, the statement said.

After receiving information on the outcome of the internal investigation, DCFS decided not to pursue the report and will not take action, according to the statement.

But the information gathered within the district's investigation revealed that "players had engaged in a clear pattern of initiation behaviors that violated the district's hazing policies and the student-athlete code of conduct," the statement said.

The team was forced to forfeit three games as a result of the internal investigation. Those games included a Nov. 30 game against Schaumburg High School and a Dec. 1 game against Hersey High School, along with an upcoming Dec. 4 game against Streamwood High School.

In a separate statement, head coach Luke Yanule said that when he heard reports on Friday afternoon of the hazing, he immediately contacted the necessary officials.

"Our team has learned, and will continue to learn from this incident," he said in the statement. "Hazing or other initiations have never been tolerated, nor will it ever be tolerated in our basketball program or in any program at Hoffman Estates High School."

The statement continued, "My thoughts and support go out to everyone involved, especially the young men in our program who have been most directly affected during the past few days. Our team will own the disciplinary measures handed down with integrity as we look to move forward from this and continue to grow as people and as a team."

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