Leading off today:
Susan Wagner High School has called off varsity and junior varsity football practice and games while investigating an alleged hazing incident at a preseason camp, The Advance reported
Susan Wagner was scheduled to open its varsity season Saturday at Port Richmond. The JVs were to play Sunday, also at Port Richmond.
Principal Gary Giordano informed school families that the allegations involve both varsity and JV players and suggested in a letter that parents "who feel that their child was the victim of a crime while away at camp late last month, should report the incident to the Columbia County Sheriff."
Giordano posted his letter to parents on the school's website. He said the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigations for city schools is probing the incident, and a volunteer coach has been suspended until the outcome of the investigation.
An Albany source told the New York State Sportswriters Association on Wednesday that at least two elected officials have "taken notice" of the situation. The source said the State Education Department may be asked to examine policies for off-campus camps.
Administrators were scheduled to meet with players and parents Wednesday morning to discuss the matter. Police officers were seen going into the school and at least three NYPD vehicles were parked in front of the school, The Advance reported. Reporters were not being allowed into the school.
The parent of one JV player told The Advance he was angered by what happened at Camp Pontiac in Copake, about 130 miles north of Staten Island, and expressed frustration over the school's slow response and the attitude of some other parents.
"They're trying to say that it's not so serious, that it's horseplay, this goes on in football. No it doesn't!" the unidentified parent told the paper. "Let all these football moms and dads know that your kids could have probably been in harm's way. And you need to find out if they were the victims, or if they were the ones initiating."
The parent said that his son came home with permanent marker scrawlings on his legs and described hazing and abuse passed down from older players to younger ones.
"They had a BB gun up there that they were attacking the kids and shooting at kids with. A lot of kids woke up with penises drawn on their faces, neck, head, arms, legs," the parent said. "That's outrageous, and with (permanent) magic markers. These kids were scrubbing the life out of their skin."
Varsity players involved in the incident required sophomores to target freshmen as an initiation rite, the parent said. Some students allegedly were struck with a broomstick.
"They were pulling their pants down and rubbing their butts in people's faces while they were asleep," the parent said. "That's so disgusting. And these are minors."
The Advance broke the story Saturday night of a possible hazing incident.
In an interview with WABC on Tuesday night, the father of a Susan Wagner JV player produced group chat messages between the football players that read, "Everyone delete the chats," "Don't let this get out" and "Cuz no one snitched last year and worst (sic) ... happened to us."
Following up: Four of the seven teens charged in the Sayreville, Pa., football locker room hazing and sexual-abuse scandal have pleaded guilty to charges ranging from simple assault to hazing and were sentenced to probation, the Middlesex County prosecutor announced Monday.
Two other youngsters charged were judged to be delinquent, though not of the most serious charges of sexual assault. A seventh teen's case remains pending.