LAS VEGAS, N. M. (KRQE) - Six former high school football players face rape and kidnappingcharges over an alleged hazing that included sodomizing youngerplayers with a broom handle.
The six, all now suspended or expelled from Robertson HighSchool, were charged Wednesday by the district attorney's office inSanta Fe which has taken over the case.
District Attorney Henry Valdez said additional charges couldbe filed against adults, but he declined to say if he was referringto the coaches who ran the out-of-town training camp inAugust. The coaching staff resigned shortly after theincident became public.
The charges were filed in Children's' Court in LasVegas. Valdez now has 10 days to decide whether to requestthe teens be tried as adults.
Court documents identify the teens as Michael Gallegos,Santiago Armijo, Steven Garcia, Marcus Gutierrez, Lucas Martinezand Jerek Padilla. All have been charged with conspiracy plusmultiple counts of second-degree rape, kidnapping, attempted rapeand attempted kidnapping.
Ten younger teammates are the alleged victims.
Gallegos alone faces 19 counts. All six remain free,Valdez said.
"The charges we filed reflect the behavior of each of theindividuals," Valdez told KRQE News 13.
Five of the players have been suspended from school for theyear while the sixth was expelled. Robertson is part of theLas Vegas City Schools district.
The case has stirred strong feelings in a community with twoschool districts and intense sports rivalries.
"To me it was disgusting whatever happened" Linda Lovatosaid. "It's, you know, sad."
"They're going have to pay," added Lalo Lovato. "Somebody's going to pay. It's going to be hard."
Las Vegas residents we spoke to say, if the kids did it, theyshould face the consequences:
"If they did the crime, they have to do the time," MelodyGarcia said.
Questions about what the coaches new about the alleged hazingand how they did or did not respond have been raised but notpublicly answered. However the district attorney, who wasappointed as special prosecutor to avoid local conflicts ofinterest, would only talk in general terms about where the casemight be going.
"I did ask the police to do some more investigation to thatparticular issue, and those reports were just recently turnedover," Valdez added. "I'm talking about any adults that mayhave had any responsibility in this."
The school districts internal investigation concluded thecoaches did a poor job handling the allegations when then learnedof the hazing.
"If there's wrongdoing people have to be held accountable fortheir actions," said Steve Sandoval, an assistant principal in theWest Las Vegas Schools district. "It's a no win situation foreverybody."
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