Lawyer: More than 5 Wheaton College players took part in hazing

Though five Wheaton College football players face criminal charges, as many as seven were involved in the hazing of a teammate 18 months ago, the attorney for the teammate said Friday.

The 19-year-old freshman was in a dorm room March 2016 watching college basketball at about 10 p.m. when “approximately” seven players entered the room, his attorney Terry Ekl said.

“My understanding is the five guys that were charged were the ones that were actually doing things to the victim as opposed to merely being there,” Ekl said. “And when someone is present when a crime is being committed and doesn't do anything to stop it but doesn't actively participate, it becomes a little iffier as to whether they're accountable for the actions of the other people or not.”

Ekl said his client's abductors placed a pillowcase over his head and carried him out of the dorm and into the back seat of a vehicle.

“Not only did no students try to stop these guys, the security, or what was allegedly security at the front door, did nothing as well,” Ekl said.

During the car ride, the players played music that intimated that the student had been taken by foreign extremists who planned to sexually violate him, Ekl said.

The players left him in a baseball field near Hawthorne Elementary School in a neighborhood north of campus, Wheaton police said.

Ekl said his client suffered shoulder injuries that required at least three surgeries so far. The student is now attending another college.

“He had both labrums torn in his shoulders, and that was done when they duct-taped him with his hands behind his back and drug him by his hands,” said Ekl, adding that police received “a complete set of medical records.”

A second freshman player also was subjected to hazing that night by another group of teammates and dropped off on the same baseball field, Ekl said.

But he was uninjured and never asked authorities to investigate, police said. That player also is still on the team, according to a recent roster.

Wheaton Deputy Police Chief Bill Murphy declined to comment Friday on the number of students involved in the hazing, but he said there was probable cause to arrest the five players.

LaTonya Taylor, the college's spokesman, also did not respond to inquiries.

After the felony charges were announced on Monday, the college released a statement the next day announcing suspension of the five players.

The players — Noah Spielman, James Cooksey, Kyler Kregel, Benjamin Pettway, and Samuel TeBos — all turned themselves into police by Friday and had each posted the $5,000 bail.

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Samuel TeBos
Benjamin Pettway
Kyler Kregel
James Cooksey
Noah Spielman
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