Updated at 3:48 p.m. Saturday: Five Damascus High School students are facing rape charges after an alleged hazing incident that occurred in the boys locker room after school was dismissed Oct. 31, according to authorities.
Three students were arrested Thursday evening and each was charged with one count of second-degree rape and one count of attempted second-degree rape, according to Montgomery County police. On Friday, two additional students were charged by police. One student was charged with three counts of second-degree rape and another student was charged with one count of attempted second-degree rape, police said Friday.
All of the Damascus students charged are members of the junior varsity football team, according to a letter released Saturday from Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith.
Police have identified four male students at the school as the alleged victims. They are also believed to be members of the JV football team. Following police protocol, their identities will not be released.
In his letter, Smith confirmed the allegations about hazing and said MCPS was fully cooperating with authorities. He apologized for not being able to disclose many details of the alleged incident and requested that people refrain from spreading rumors online or in person.
“Not only can these rumors be hurtful, but they can also be a distraction to the investigation,” Smith wrote. “If you believe you have information regarding the alleged incident, please contact the Special Victims Division of the Montgomery County Police at 240-773-5400.”
Smith also said counselors will be available next week for students seeking support.
A letter sent Thursday afternoon to parents by Principal Casey Crouse stated police were investigating reports of hazing by JV players against their teammates. She said the team had forfeited Thursday’s junior varsity football game because of the allegations.
“The alleged behavior is upsetting and unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Damascus HS,” Crouse said in the letter. ” . . . Any student who is found to have hazed another student will be disciplined in accordance with the MCPS Student Code of Conduct and may also face legal consequences.”
In her letter, Crouse said the allegations did not involve the varsity football team. Last Friday , Oct. 26, the varsity team—known to be a football powerhouse—broke a state record by winning 51 consecutive games.
The legal cases against the students will be handled by the Maryland juvenile justice system, police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said Friday.