Update: Sierra County Sheriff Glenn Hamilton held a news conference Tuesday to provide an update on the criminal investigation into an alleged molestation incident by five Hot Spring High School football players.
The sheriff said investigators uncovered Snapchat videos of a staged incident in which four football players pinned a young player in the locker room while an 18-year-old held his naked genitalia and buttocks over the young player’s face.
“We have to send a message that this will not be tolerated,” the sheriff told reporters, indicating that the investigation found that some of the “attack” involved incidents from the participants. In all the cases, the alleged perpetrators belonged to the upper class, while the victims were underclassmen, he said.
Hamilton said he is currently consulting with the district attorney to determine which charges will be filed. He said the 18-year-old could face an adult charge of criminal sexual contact with a minor, while four other players involved in the hedging incident could face juvenile charges of false imprisonment.
The sheriff said it appeared that the coaching staff had no knowledge or involvement in the alleged attack, although the head coach has resigned and the team’s last two games of the season were canceled by school officials.
Original report: Truth or Consequences, New Mexico – As the Truth or Consequences Municipal School District investigates smuggling allegations that could result in criminal charges, the Hot Spring High School Tigers have canceled the remainder of their football season.
“It wasn’t just a prank,” Sierra County Sheriff Glenn Hamilton told ABC-7 on Monday. “It wasn’t just a bunch of boys who were carrying towels and popping each other around the locker room. It was a man who was suppressed against his will.”
Hamilton said five football players pinned the sixth youngster down in the locker room on 19 October. He said an 18-year-old player placed his naked genitals and buttocks over the youngster’s face.
“These were not school-ground antics,” Hamilton said. “It wasn’t something that should be dismissed as ‘boys will be boys’.”
But the 18-year-old’s father maintained to ABC-7 that he had the child’s clothes on at the time of the incident and was very critical of how the school district and sheriff’s office are handling the investigation.
“It’s very disturbing,” Rudy Flores said. “Oh, that’s so upsetting. Especially to learn that his due process has been violated. That’s not right.”
No charges had been filed as of Monday, but the sheriff’s office held a Tuesday morning press conference to discuss the matter. Also, a meeting of T or C School Board was held in the executive session on Monday evening regarding the incident.
in a statement made to ABC Affiliate KOAT, school superintendent Chanel Segura said:
“T or C schools place the safety and well-being of their students as their top priority. The District cannot comment on confidential student or staff matters, but will respond in line with its policies and in the best interest of students and the community “
The sheriff’s office has indicated that it is prepared to file “any appropriate charge that may be warranted.”