DAMASCUS, Md. (AP) — Four Maryland 15-year-olds are out on bail but face life in prison after being charged as adults with first-degree rape in a locker room attack.
WTOP-FM reports Jean Claude Abedi, Kristian Jamal Lee, Will Smith and Caleb Thorpe were released on Monday. A fifth teen is facing lesser second-degree rape charges as a juvenile.
Prosecutors say the Damascus High School students assaulted four 14-year-olds before junior varsity football practice one day in October.
They say the teens restrained the victims, pulled down their pants and raped or attempted to rape them with a broom stick. The victims were freshman members of the junior varsity football team.
Defense attorney Daniel Wright called it “a hazing incident that went to an extreme.”
Prosecutor John McCarthy rejected that statement. “I am offended by the term hazing … It’s not hazing,” he said. “These are crimes. I would caution anyone to refer to this as hazing. These boys were victims of criminal acts. They were not victims of hazing.”
Separately, school officials want to know who staged brooms around campus Sunday.