A CNN report by John Couwels on June 3 shared the sordid details of how four Tampa teens are accused of sodomizing a fellow male classmate with a broomstick and a hockey stick.
Prosecutors allege multiple attacks took place over a two-month period. The victim didn’t report it. The witnesses didn’t report it. Yes, people heard the attacks and no one reported it. None of the four accused reported their alleged acts. School officials began an investigation after a fight brought the issue to light.
I was shocked back in the early 1990s when a similar incident occurred at a small, Georgia middle school. Back then, the case was prosecuted; but many in town seemed to explain away the behavior with a wink and the old saying, "boys will be boys."
The news of this modern-day court case, reminded me of that story I reported on so many years ago. It made me sick to my stomach back then. This Florida story makes me sick to my stomach now, especially as locker room crimes continue to be labeled as horseplay.
The four boys aged 14 to 15 are accused of assaulting a 13-year-old boy. They each face four counts of sexual battery. Each is charged as an adult. Each count has a maximum sentence of 30 years. Surely, the middle school students can do the math — up to 120 years. They are facing a lifetime in jail plus a couple of decades for good measure.
Have we really arrived at the sad day when parents or school officials have to spell it out and say, “It’s wrong to hold down a classmate and sodomize him with sticks.”