Keizer police on Thursday arrested five McNary High School freshman football players on charges alleging they physically harassed their teammates in a locker room.
The arrests followed a two-week investigation after McNary Principal Scott Gragg told families that the school had canceled the rest of the freshmen football season based on accusations of “serious student-athlete misconduct,” according to Keizertimes.
The incidents occurred between August and October in the boy’s locker room at McNary, the Keizer Police Department announced in a news release Thursday afternoon.
The police agency said the victims were fellow freshman football players, one of whom was a victim of fourth-degree assault. The accusation under Oregon law means injuring another person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly and is a class A misdemeanor in most instances.
The accused students are all Keizer residents. Four were 14 years old and one was 15.
They were “processed” at the police station and then transferred to the Marion County Juvenile Department, “where they were released to intake staff,” police said in the statement.
District officials learned of the allegations Oct. 18, Salem-Keizer School District spokesman Aaron Harada said in a statement Thursday.
“We notified local authorities, initiated an internal investigation, suspended freshman football practices, and forfeited the remainder of the season games,” Harada said.
The freshmen team at the time was scheduled to play at North Medford High School, with the last season game scheduled for Oct. 25 against Sprague High School.
Harada said the district would not share further details about the investigation or any school discipline, citing student privacy.
“As you know, we take great pride in our student experience to ensure that McNary is a place where all of our students, staff and families belong. We have high expectations for our students and upholding those expectations is part of what makes our school community stronger together,” Gragg said in a letter to families Thursday.
Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.
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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.