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Former Mountain Ridge wrestler alleges sexual assault by 2 teammates

Posted 4/28/17

By Cecilia Chan

Independent Newsmedia

A wrestler from a high school in Glendale has accused two teammates of sexual assault and that images of the alleged assault circulated soon after.

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Former Mountain Ridge wrestler alleges sexual assault by 2 teammates

By Cecilia Chan
Independent Newsmedia

A wrestler from a high school in Glendale has accused two teammates of sexual assault and that images of the alleged assault circulated soon after.

All three juveniles attended Mountain Ridge High School at 22800 N .67th Ave., when the alleged incident occurred last year during a wrestling meet in Holbrook in northern Arizona. Because they are juveniles, their identities were not released.

“The county DA has the case,” said Lt. Jack Arend of the Holbrook Police Department. “I know they are putting on new charges.”

He said a department detective submitted his report to the Navajo County Attorney’s Office on March 3 and that the case was headed to a grand jury.

Lt. Arend would not release the ages of the juveniles and referred additional questions to County Attorney Brad Carlyon, who did not return calls for comment.

The alleged assault occurred Dec. 2, 2016 and was reported to police Dec. 15, according to Lt. Arend. The victim’s grandmother first reported the incident to Deer Valley Unified School District. The district conducted an investigation, which included speaking with parents of all members of the wrestling team.

The two accused students have admitted taking part in the incident, according to Glendale police. The two students have been disciplined by DVUSD and are no longer students at Mountain Ridge.

District spokeswoman Monica Allread said she is prohibited from disclosing disciplinary actions against the two.

“It’s part of their student record and I can’t disclose that,” she said.

Ms. Allread said school administration is taking several actions to prevent this from happening in the future, including giving more education to student-athletes on the many avenues for reporting any actions that compromise the safety of themselves or others, reviewing guidelines for expected behavior for student athletes, providing additional character education for student athletes and making intentional room assignments when traveling for athletics/activities.

Students are always encouraged to report incidents to administration, she said.

Administration also is providing support for the victim.

“We are working consistently and closely with the victim in the case,” Ms. Allread said. “Various administrators are doing that so we have provided on-going support since the incident happened.”

The victim said the assault happened in a motel room that he shared with three other boys, the night before the team was to head home, according to a Glendale Police report. Glendale assisted Holbrook Police in the investigation.

The victim said he was wrestling with a boy, who told him to stop or he would put a toothbrush in his rectum, according to the report.

The victim said he did not believe it would happen and continued trying to wrestle with the boy, who then grabbed him in a hold with his arms pinned behind him and he was pressed forward so he could not get loose. The boy then yelled for another wrestler to get a toothbrush and “shove it in his ass.”

The victim told Glendale Police he was laying face down on the bed with his gym shorts pulled down when the second boy
allegedly sexually assaulted him and recorded the incident with his cell phone.

The victim said he attempted to fight them off the entire time but was unable to. He told police he had a hard time breathing and afterwards his eyes were “very bloodshot.”

After the incident, the two suspects went to bed while the victim cried most of the night, according to the report.

The victim said the next day while the team was on the school bus going back to Glendale, he could hear people talking and laughing about the incident.

The next day at school, he said he was approached by several students who said, “What’s up toothbrush.” He said he was called toothbrush by several students through the next coming weeks.

The victim said four other students told him it happened to them as well, the report stated.

District spokeswoman Allread said that information was not previously reported to the school. Based on this new information, the school administrators met with students and have found no other incidents that occurred recently or in the past, she said, adding administrators will continue to take all necessary actions to ensure the safety of all students.

Later the victim said he received the video of the assault via text on his phone along with other pictures from different people, some of whom were not involved in the incident.

He told police he was sure the video and pictures were sent to several people at the high school and that they were sent through Snapchat and text.

The victim said he took it for a few weeks but could not take it anymore so he changed schools to get away from “the hazing and name calling.”

The victim also told police that he wanted to prosecute for the alleged sexual assault.

According to Ms. Allread, the district does not consider this incident to be hazing for several reasons, including that the students were the same age and that this was not an initiation type of incident.