Underclassmen allege older players waged campaign of abuse

By Chris Harris
Updated January 07, 2016 03:55 PM
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Credit: Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press/AP

Allegations of rape and endless hazing have forced school administrators in Ooltewah, Tennessee, to cancel a high school basketball team’s entire season.

A police official confirms to PEOPLE that three members of the Ooltewah High School boys’ basketball team have been charged with the alleged rape of one of their teammates.

The three suspects are all juveniles whose names aren’t being released. All three additionally face assault charges, the official says.

The arrests compelled school officials to ax the entire basketball season.

A statement from the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office says an investigation has been launched into “allegations some upper class members and/or former members” of the basketball team “assaulted freshman teammates” prior to the rape, which occurred last month.

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That incident, the prosecution’s statement reads, “left one player critically injured.”

The statement adds that investigators are looking into allegations from the families of freshman players “who accuse upper class teammates of an ongoing pattern of assaults allegedly committed under the guise of hazing.”

School officials have been instructed to keep quiet about the case as the investigation proceeds, the statement concludes.