BURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) – Two New York high school students have been charged with multiple counts of assault for hazing fellow JROTC members in a Westampton Township Motel last year, according to police. Officials say the students were enrolled at the Francis Lewis High School in Queens and were on an overnight trip to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst for a JROTC competition in April 2018 when the hazing took place.
The assaults were reported to police in June 2018.
Police say four male victims were involved in the incidents that occurred at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Investigators say one of the victims was burned on his buttocks with a hot iron and a second victim in the room was also mistreated at the hands of the defendants.
Later, in a different room at a hotel, the defendants forced two different members to engage in humiliating conduct, officials say.
“Hazing does not bring organizations together; rather, it tears them apart,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said. “There is no team-building benefit from injuring and humiliating junior members of a group as a rite of passage. Stripped of whatever ‘ritual’ it purports to be, this conduct is nothing more than assault and bullying, which we will prosecute just as vigorously as any other case, seeking to vindicate the rights and dignity of the victims who are harmed.”
The defendants were extradited to New Jersey on March 28. They were both 16 years old and their identities are being withheld because they are juveniles.
The first defendant was charged with aggravated assault, five counts of endangering the welfare of a child, two counts of invasion of privacy, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, aggravated hazing, and other related charges.
The second defendant was charged with aggravated sexual assault, five counts of endangering the welfare of a child, criminal sexual contact, aggravated hazing, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and other related charges.
Anyone with information to this case is asked to contact the Westampton Township Police Department at 609-267-3000.