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Feb. 26 2010 - 8:38 pm | 6,144 views | 2 recommendations | 2 comments

Carmel hazing case blows up on Senior Day

Tonight (Feb. 26) was supposed to be a celebration for the Carmel (Ind.) High School basketball team, the seniors in particular, what with it being the final regular-season home game, and designated Senior Day. One problem: four out of the five seniors aren’t there because they are suspended as police investigate whether they committed any sexually related crimes related to hazing.

I’ve been updating the situation at my old high school on my original post, but events are moving so quickly, I figured I’d better start another one so the Feb. 25 post didn’t grow to 10,000 words. Only a few hours before Senior Day activities were set to tip off, the Carmel Police Department, with the local TV news stations breathing down its neck, released its second police report related to misdeeds that might involve athletes.

That report is investigating possible criminal deviate conduct, sexual battery with threat of force and criminal confinement related to a Jan. 8 attack in a Carmel locker room. What exactly is alleged isn’t known — the report is heavily redacted. But it has to be pretty serious to have police thinking about three felonies, the first two of which, individually, would put you in the state’s sex offender registry.

Police filed report on the alleged attack Feb. 22 while interviewing an alleged victim of three senior basketball players. They were suspended from school for a Jan. 22 “bullying” (what the school is calling it) incident on a 100-mile bus ride back from a game in Terre Haute. In among the few areas of the police report that weren’t Dick Cheneyed, the officer noted that he was informed by a victim of the bus incident (a victim who had to go to the hospital for his injuries) there were “ongoing issues that were occurring in the locker rooms at Carmel High School.” The Jan. 8 incident is the only one, as of yet, that police are investigating beyond the bus incident, which also is looking into whether felonies occurred, including sex crimes. The players, already acknowledged by the school as being suspended, are Robert Kitzinger, Brandon Hoge and Scott Laskowski, the latter the son of former Indiana University player and current television announcer John Laskowski.

In what may or may not related, a fourth senior basketball player, Oscar Faludon, was suspended from school for allegedly attacking another student in the boys’ locker room. Police have not said whether there is a link, or not, between that case and the newest police report.

It is extremely unfortunate for the one senior, Alex Payne, who has so far kept his head above the fray, that his special night has been ruined. (Me not living in Carmel anymore, I’m still trying to find out whether Senior Day was canceled or otherwise scaled back.) But it hasn’t been ruined just by teammates who apparently were on a serious power trip… heck, I don’t know WHAT their problem was.

Senior Day also has been ruined by all the adults involved, or better yet not involved.

The coaches who didn’t pay attention to what was going on behind them on the bus.

The coaches who let seniors onto the freshman bus against policy in the first place.

The head basketball coach, who in his own statements has made clear he’s much more concerned about how this affects his won-loss record than the children involved.

The coaches who failed to monitor what was happening in their own locker rooms.

The administrators who tried to bury their heads in the sand about this and had an investigation forced upon them. Listen to the principal in the clip below, and prepare to be appalled:

The police who, allegedly in the name of children’s privacy, perhaps illegally refused to release documents until the Indiana’s state public access watchdog was sicced on them.

An adult culture that made the school bus victim(s) so fearful, the kids themselves were afraid to step up and say anything — this conduct came to light only because a parent overheard it while at the school, and because the hospital had to inform the Department of Child Services about the circumstances and nature of the school bus victim’s injuries.

One bit of kudos I have to give is to much-maligned local television news. Indianapolis’ four major TV news operations have been all over this case, and it’s notable that the reports police have released are emailed straight to them — and not to any print media. Ouch. In fact, local TV news has broken every bit of significant information on the story.

POSTGAME FOLLOW-UP: Carmel beat Brebeuf Jesuit Prep, for those keeping score. However, Indiana blogger Kent Sterling reports that lone senior standing Alex Payne got a nice round of applause when he was introduced with the starting lineup — and that Brebeuf’s rooting section didn’t, as the kids say, go there on Carmel’s problems. The only incident, such as it were, was when the crowd spotted one television reporter who has been particularly aggressive on the hazing stories:

The only borderline moment was when Fox-59’s Kim King walked into the gym.  [Your Kid's Not Going Pro editor's note: this being Indiana, a 4,000-seat facility is called a "gym."] I didn’t see her until she was in front of the scorer’s table.  You have to love this woman, unless you’re a Carmel student as you’ll read in a minute.  She is aggressively pursuing a story that is not going to lead to a pretty end for the high school in whose gym she is walking, but she doesn’t slip in the back door.  Nope, Kim walks right down to the floor during halftime and crosses in front of the scorer’s table and then the Carmel bench.  She stands in the corner with a person I’m guessing is her producer, and the crowd became a little quiet and started pointing.  Then there was a bit of huddling, followed by the chant “Go home, Kim!  Go home, Kim!”  Some of the parents laughed, which I thought was absurd because it was neither clever nor funny.  If Carmel is a school filled with as many smart kids as they claim, they should have come up with something witty.


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  1. collapse expand

    Thank you, Bob Cook!

    Finally, someone dares to take what truth is out there and compile it in a meaningful way. So many Indy-area residents are absolutely livid about the way this whole scandalous affair has been handled. You don’t have to travel to Denmark to smell something rotten these days… just take a drive on I-465 and stop on your way to Notre Dame.

    The four students in question are from well-heeled families. The elder Kitzinger is an attorney; Mr Hoge is an insurance agent, just like John Laskowski; as for the Falodun family, they are fortunate not to be counted among the most-important of VIP’s.

    No matter whether you call it hazing, bullying, child sexual abuse, or alleged criminal activity, the truth of the matter is that Carmel H.S., Carmel/Clay Schools, Carmel Police Dept. and the City of Carmel appear to have screwed up in a huge way.

    Now Mayor Brainard dares to speak up? He’s already in a pot of boiling oil over a highway project and arts center, both under construction and well over budget; this only fans the flames. Yes, there may be gold leaf on the “Welcome to Carmel” highway signs, but the wood underneath must be rotting away, just like justice in that community.

  2. collapse expand

    Good article, but as a former student at CHS who graduated last year, I have to say that there are a lot of things that outsiders (people who don’t currently go to school or work at Carmel High School) are extremely misinformed by.

    I’ll let you know what I do agree with. I agree that these actions are definitely terrible, and should be punished as such. I know of the kids that did these things, and let’s just say that there is probably quite a bit of a superiority complex goin’ on here. I also agree that the head coach on the basketball team isn’t the greatest coach to ever step foot on the hardwood. Heck, he had McRoberts a few years ago and he couldn’t handle that situation enough to even get past sections. Ya think he’s gonna handle THIS one well?

    But I definitely have a few issues with what is being spread around. Firstly, though I admit the criticism of principal John Williams has some merit, the fact is, this is one of the classiest men that I have ever known. Though I don’t know exactly how the investigation got started, I do know that this is a guy who does it the right way. When this report started, the only thing they knew for sure was that there was bullying. The sexual aspects of this case were still he-said, she-said types of things. So what did he do? He suspended the kids momentarily and let the investigation start. In my opinion, his actions were pretty smart. And I will say that I admittedly don’t know all the facts of this situation. But I don’t think anyone does either. If principal Williams gets the hammer, because there are all these people making conspiracy theories about all this crap, that wold be absolute BS. If he ignored initial claims of sexual abuse and there is solid evidence of this, then shame on him. But if these are unverified claims, then he is not guilty until proven so. And gosh dang it, in my opinion, we should give him some credit, he’s been very cooperative with the police in allowing them to investigate 60 people. And more impressively, he hasn’t roundhouse kicked a reporter yet. Which brings me to my next point…

    I disagree wholeheartedly with the way the media has handled this. What they’re doing isn’t reporting. They’re being annoying jerks. If i were still at carmel and there were so many people on school grounds trying to dig of so much crap about my school, I’d be pretty ticked off too. I know high schools are filled with gossiping annoying teenagers, but hell, you’d be lying if all these rumors weren’t being fueled by some of these reporters’ BS. It is ridiculous. I actually heard yesterday that people are saying that this is a CHS basketball “tradition.” really? I was connected with this program and I am sure that this is false. Yeah I agree that the news should follow the story. And yeah I can understand their frustration about not knowing the whole story. But they should know the line between reporting and rumors. I’m tired of seeing these reporters talk anonymously to the 5 teachers in CHS who don’t like working there. I’m tired of seeing the sentence , “yeah, there is some bullying here,” become turned into, “Sexual abuse is widespread in Carmel.” Most of all, I am tired of the fact that if this incident happened in the inner city, it would be treated like an actual news story and actual news would be reported about it. But it happened in Carmel, and these conniving little media idiots come into our school and walk right through the middle of our basketball court and think they can talk down to our students and our teachers and do their best to to turn this individual incident into a mass generalization of the city of Carmel in general. Jesus, by all means – do your job and find the news. But don’t sit at the lunch table with Kristy and Allysa and talk about whose boyfriend punched who and the latest breakup news. If you want a raise, then go into a better industry than fricckin journalism, dont try to dig up every little piece of crap about Carmel and call it “News” and claim that this is the big story that gets you out of the slums of local television.

    All in all, I’d just like to say that if i were in the Carmel student section, I would wholeheartedly say Go home, Kim. I think it speaks to the classiness of these students that they didn’t use far more offensive 4-letter words than “home.” These “reporters” are being arrogant jerks (idk if i can use other words, but i’ll settle for “jerk”). Before you continue disrespecting our school and everything it stands for, why don’t you learn the difference between reporting facts and reporting rumors? Gosh dangit, just start doin’ your damn job.

    PS: I dont know if Kent Sterling is reading this, but if he is, then I think you should just shut the hell up.

    “If Carmel is a school filled with as many smart kids as they claim, they should have come up with something witty.”

    I graduated from Carmel. 2370 SAT bud.

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    About Me

    A youth sports blog written by Bob Cook. He contributes to NBCSports.com, or MSNBC.com, if you prefer. He’s delivered sports commentaries for All Things Considered. For three years he wrote the weekly “Kick Out the Sports!” column for Flak Magazine.

    Most importantly for this blog, Bob is a father of four who is in the throes of being a sports parent and youth coach in an inner-ring suburb of Chicago. He reserves the right to change names to protect the innocent and the extremely, extremely guilty.

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    You can see what I’m up to by following me at facebook.com/rkcookjr and/or twitter.com/notgoingpro. You can also become an official fan of Your Kid’s Not Going Pro on Facebook. I’m endlessly fascinating.