Judge bans cameras at hazing arraignments for Wheaton College football players

  • Five Wheaton College football players face felony charges after being accused of hazing a teammate in March 2016. They are, upper row from left, James Cooksey, Kyler Kregel and Ben Pettway and lower from left, Noah Spielman and Samuel TeBos.

    Five Wheaton College football players face felony charges after being accused of hazing a teammate in March 2016. They are, upper row from left, James Cooksey, Kyler Kregel and Ben Pettway and lower from left, Noah Spielman and Samuel TeBos. COURTESY OF WHEATON COLLEGE

 
 
Updated 10/18/2017 11:23 AM

When four of five suspended Wheaton College football players accused of hazing are arraigned Monday on aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint charges, cameras will not be allowed in the DuPage County courtroom.

Judge Brian Telander rejected a request Wednesday from multiple news agencies to allow one still photographer and one videographer in the hearing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Telander said he denied the request "to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice" and to "maintain decorum and prevent distractions."

The players are charged as co-defendants in the alleged attack on a former teammate in March 2016.

Those charged are James Cooksey, from Jacksonville, Florida; Kyler Kregel, from Grand Rapids, Michigan; Ben Pettway, from Lookout Mountain, Georgia; Noah Spielman, from Columbus, Ohio; and Samuel TeBos, from Allendale, Michigan

Kregel, Pettway, Spielman and TeBos will be arraigned at 9 a.m. Monday. Cooksey will be arraigned Nov. 13 and Telander also denied a request for cameras at that hearing.

The men are accused of abducting a teammate from his dorm room, tying him with duct tape and leaving him in a baseball field near Hawthorne Elementary School in Wheaton.

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Terry Ekl, the attorney for the victim, says his client was left with two injured shoulders that required three surgeries. During the car ride to the ballfield, Ekl said, the victim, who was a freshman, was threatened with sexual violations.

After the hazing, the student left Wheaton College and now attends another school. The college suspended the players last month after the charges were announced.

Authorities say a second football player was hazed the same evening and also was left in the school ballfield. He remains on the team, according to a recent roster.

Attorney Paul DeLuca attended Wednesday's hearing to object to the request for cameras in the courtroom on behalf of his client, Kyler Kregel, and the other four men, who are represented by different attorneys.

"These young men, some who are as young as 19 years old, are Christian, good individuals, who are entitled to a fair trial" DeLuca told Telander. "The press can come and listen and they can write what they want, but the press doesn't need to intrude."

Telander said he is willing to consider any future extended media requests in the case.

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