Attorneys mum as gag order lifted in Wheaton College hazing case

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

    Suspended Wheaton College football players James Cooksey, Kyler Kregel and Ben Pettway, top row from left, and Noah Spielman and Samuel TeBos face felony charges after being accused in a 2016 hazing of a teammate.

 
 
Updated 10/31/2017 9:49 PM

A DuPage County judge on Tuesday lifted a gag order at the request of three of five suspended Wheaton College football players facing charges in a hazing case to allow their lawyers to address accusations of sexual assault.

But once the order was lifted, the attorneys for Noah Spielman, Samuel TeBos and Kyler Kregel refused to comment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Paul DeLuca, who along with Paul Moreschi represents Kregel, said the attorneys "need to review everything" before speaking publicly.

The other two players charged in connection with the case, Benjamin Pettway and James Cooksey, also are expected to join the motion to lift the gag order.

A grand jury last month approved a nine-count indictment against the players, alleging aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint. All have pleaded not guilty, except Cooksey, who will be arraigned Nov. 13.

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

Terry Ekl, the attorney for the victim, said 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 violation.

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Last week Moreschi told Judge Brian Telander that the sexual assault allegation is not true or charged. He asked the court for an exception to the gag order in order to publicly respond.

Ekl's law partner, Patrick Provenzale, questioned the move Tuesday afternoon. He said the players told his client during the abduction, in which they played Middle Eastern music and spoke with Middle Eastern accents, that he could be sexually violated that night.

"If lawyers for these fellows are going to start coming out and challenging the allegations and denying the allegations of the sexual assault, then why don't they deny the things they're actually charged with? So what if they're denying things they're not charged with? They all admitted what they did to both the school and police," Provenzale said. "The fact that sexual assault is not a charge, well, it is to the extent they are charged with aggravated battery."

Aside from Cooksey and Pettway, who will be in court on Nov. 13, the case will next be called on Jan. 11.

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