Kansas juvenile charged with felony in possible hot coat hanger hazing

Prosecutors on Monday charged a juvenile with aggravated battery in a possible hazing in which older Hutchinson High School football players allegedly burned freshman players with a heated coat hanger at the school, an official said.

On Tuesday, prosecutors will decide whether to charge two 18-year-old players, Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder said. The felony charge against the juvenile alleges he injured one victim.

Schroeder described it as a “complicated” case.

He said he didn’t want to minimize hazing or bullying or overreact to something that could be less serious.

Schroeder clarified how prosecutors think the burns occurred, saying “it was caused with a (metal wire) coat hanger heated up by flexing the coat hanger. It was friction heat.”

It’s too early to say whether the injuries will leave permanent scarring, he said.

On Friday, the Hutchinson News reported that police arrested three Hutch High students for allegedly burning four freshman players on their abdomens earlier in the week at the school. Two 18-year-olds and a 16-year-old were arrested.

On Monday, Hutchinson police Detective Paul Sack told The Eagle that police learned of allegations from parents who came to the police department.

Sack declined to say where the burns occurred at the school.

In a statement last week, school district spokesman Ray Hemman said the district doesn’t tolerate bullying or hazing and has a “strong policy” against it.

The statement added: “Thursday prior to practice, it came to the Head Football Coach Randy Dreiling’s attention that an alleged hazing incident may have occurred on Wednesday. Dreiling did an initial investigation and then turned the matter over to HHS administrators and Hutchinson Police to investigate.”

On Monday, when an Eagle reporter asked Hemman how much time elapsed before the investigation was turned over to police, he responded, “Obviously, we’re talking about a very short period of time.”

Hemman said he couldn’t disclose whether the school suspended the students who were arrested.

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