Football players cited in hazing case

Five former Milton football players were cited into court in connection with a hazing investigation of the 2011 and 2012 varsity teams, the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations reported last Wednesday afternoon.

William Jenkins, 18; Colby Darling, 18; Brian Lasell, 19; Brandon Beliveau, 20; and Ryan Carlson, 20; all of Milton, will face misdemeanor simple assault charges in Chittenden Superior Court this month, CUSI said in a press release.

The agency said the citations were a result of a “lengthy and extensive investigation” that began on April 25 when the Vermont Dept. for Children and Families contacted CUSI.

Director Sgt. Michael Warren, a Burlington police officer, said more than 90 interviews were conducted, sometimes requiring his entire staff. CUSI is a multi-agency taskforce that responds to sexual assault and child abuse cases.

Warren could not comment on what conduct led to the citations, saying it would come out after all five former athletes are arraigned on August 19.

“Until the arraignment, the release of that information to the public is not generally what we do,” Warren said, adding that the subjects involved have only been cited into court at this point, not charged or convicted.

Chittenden County State’s Attorney TJ Donovan was not immediately available for comment.

Hazing, defined in both Milton School Board policy and in state law, refers to intimidating, demeaning or endangering students to pledge, initiate or maintain membership with a group, on or off school grounds. Simple assault is attempting to harm or actually injuring a subject, including with a deadly weapon, or physically menacing a victim to put him or her in fear of imminent, serious bodily injury, statute says.

Milton Superintendent John Barone said in a written statement that “hazing and such actions will not be tolerated at MHS or any of the schools in the Milton Town School District.

“Pending the results of the investigation, the administration, board and I will review the findings and apply any and all applicable policies, if deemed appropriate,” he continued.

Warren said he did not inform the school of the criminal citations because the young men are no longer enrolled. He would not say whether the alleged actions occurred on school grounds or whether further charges would result from the still-open investigation.

Stay tuned for more on this story. Police ask anyone with information about this case to contact CUSI Detective Peter Chapman at 652-6800.

Note: The Independent first published this story online on Wednesday, Aug. 6. The print version of this story reflected the arraignment dates or August 14, 18 and 26. The court has since rescheduled all five for Tuesday, Aug. 19. Check back for more detail after those hearings.

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