There were no adults supervising when teenage boys were allegedly raped with a broomstick handle at a Maryland school last year, education officials have admitted. The Washington Post reports that Damascus High School in Montgomery County also confirmed the athletic director and junior varsity football coach have been fired.
The horrific incident occurred Oct. 31, 2018, when, during a 25-minute window in which the adult supervisor was not in the football team’s locker room, four boys between the ages of 14 and 15 were allegedly violated with a broomstick by six boys in the same age range. The attack led to criminal charges of rape and attempted rape against the six alleged perpetrators.
Superintendent Jack Smith wrote a letter to the school community after parents confronted Damascus school board members about their reportedly slow response to the incident. The parents charged that school officials had acted too late in acknowledging negligence and responsibility. The school did not report the incident to local police until a day later, according to local press reports.
Smith now admits that both the athletic director and junior varsity coach were late to football practice the day the alleged attacks occurred and had not assigned another adult to locker-room duty. He has put the Damascus High School football program on probation to ensure adherence to local and state laws, which require adult supervision in high-school locker rooms.
Initially, the incident was reported as a hazing ritual carried out on new team members. A similar incident occurred in 2017 in a Texas town where boys were sodomized with broomsticks, baseball bats, and carbon-dioxide tanks over a three-year period, during which none of the boys spoke out. In the Texas case, a victim finally reported it to police, which led to the indictment of 13 high-school boys. One of the boys had been sodomized more than 30 times, according to police reports.