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Five Plano High students charged in sexual assault of teammates

Plano High School's football field  |  Steve Lord~ Sun-Times Media

Plano High School's football field | Steve Lord~ Sun-Times Media

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Plano Police Chief Steve Eaves summed up the reactions to sexual assault charges filed against five high school students.

It’s “shocking to all of us,” he said.

The Plano High School students have been charged in what could be a case of sports team hazing at the school.

The five, all boys, were younger than 17 at the time of the alleged incidents and all were charged with criminal sexual assault, aggravated battery and unlawful restraint, Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis said.

They were arrested Tuesday night and held overnight in the Kane County Juvenile Detention Center west of St. Charles. They appeared Wednesday morning before a juvenile court judge in Kendall County to decide whether they would stay in the youth home or be released to their parents.

Weis said the students were charged in connection with multiple incidents that took place in August 2012 and February of this year, involving three victims. Both the alleged offenders and victims were members of the same sports teams, police said.

Weis said there could be more incidents and more victims, and the crimes might have been part of ongoing hazing rituals involving the high school’s football and boys basketball teams.

“There are indications incidents could have occurred before August 2012,” Weis said. “It’s possible other victims could come forward.”

Weis and Eaves said the investigation started by the Plano Police Department remains open.

Weis confirmed that the incidents involved multiple students holding another student down. One of the offenders would then penetrate the victim with a finger.

He said only one of the youths penetrated victims, while the others participated by holding then down.

“It doesn’t appear to be a sexually motivated crime,” Weis said. “It’s dominance, humiliation. . . . This would be on the extreme end of hazing incidents I have heard of or dealt with.”

Eric Benson, Plano High School principal, said he thought the incidents were contained to the ones reported, and not part of an ongoing problem. But he said Wednesday morning that he did not know all the details yet.

“I’m not sure if this is completely a hazing,” he said. “If that is the case, we’ve all been held in the dark for a while.”

Benson said the high school has taken measures to increase supervision in locker rooms and throughout the entire school, and it did so immediately after an incident was first reported seven months ago.

Eaves confirmed that he had talked to the principal, as well as Plano School District Supt. Hector Garcia, as soon as the incident was reported in February to make sure “steps have been taken to make the situation safer.”

Benson said the school increased the visibility of adults in the locker rooms and made sure coaches were present at all times. He also said camera systems throughout the high school were changed to improve overall security.

“We have assured the staff . . . supervision is secured,” he said.

According to Weis, the investigation began in February of this year when a parent of one of the victims reported the situation to the Plano police. That seven-month investigation resulted in the arrests Tuesday night.

“But it has to be remembered, these are juveniles,” Eaves said. “They made a mistake. Juvenile law is based on correcting the behavior. The first thing people need to know is that steps have been taken, that the school is safe.”

The investigation remains ongoing and individuals or victims with information are encouraged to call the Plano Police Department at (630) 552-8275.

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