Wrestlers' alleged assault was reported by a parent

Student witness told mother about attack at Sahuarita High
2013-01-19T00:00:00Z 2013-01-21T12:54:40Z Wrestlers' alleged assault was reported by a parentVeronica M. Cruz and Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The mother of a Sahuarita High School student who witnessed part of the locker room assault on a classmate was the first to notify police, police and court documents indicate.

Sahuarita police began their investigation soon after the woman shared her son's description of the incident, in which he said members of the wrestling team pushed a classmate to the floor and held him down Tuesday evening. They pulled his pants off and at least two of the teens performed lewd acts on the restrained student, reports say.

The witness told his mom what he had seen when she picked him up from school that evening, a Sahuarita police report says.

An officer met with the athletic director and the victim at the school and asked the student if he was involved in an incident the previous night. The victim denied anything happened, but after the officer told him that a witness saw the incident, the victim hesitated then said, "You mean with the wrestlers?" reports say.

The officer then told the victim to call his father, who went to the school.

Police continue to interview students as part of the investigation, said Sgt. Matt McGlone, a spokesman for the Sahuarita Police Department.

Three of the teens implicated in the assault were booked into the Pima County juvenile detention center, court records show. The Star is not naming the minors held in connection with the incident because their cases are being handled in juvenile court.

Two of the three - who are 14, 16 and 17 years old - performed lewd acts on the restrained student while the third teen helped hold the boy down. One of them also threatened a witness in the locker room, telling the student, "you're next," court records show.

A total of four people helped restrain the student, court records said. Police arrested a fourth youth who was taken to the juvenile center, but released, said Stephanie Coronado, a spokeswoman for the Pima County Attorney's Office.

Three additional students, all 18 years old, were arrested and booked into the Pima County jail. They all were released Thursday after posting bond, jail records show.

Police questioned two other juveniles in connection with the case but they have not been arrested, McGlone said. Police have given their case to the Pima County Attorney's Office, which will decide if criminal charges will be brought against the pair.

Sahuarita High School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Chris Fanning said he has not talked to the wrestling team or any other athletes about the incident, but will do so in the coming days.

School and district officials have not decided whether the wrestling team will continue its season, Fanning said. The district will make its decision as soon as it is practical.

There are 25 wrestlers on Sahuarita's junior varsity and varsity teams.

The athletic department binds them to no specific guidelines against hazing or other types of abuse. Instead, the department follows district school board polices on such incidents.

Disciplinary action can range from a 10-day suspension to expulsion, Sahuarita Unified School District Superintendent Manuel Valenzuela said on Thursday.

Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at vcruz@azstarnet.com or 573-4224.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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