TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. (KRQE) – In a news conference on Tuesday, Sierra County Sheriff Glenn Hamilton stated that the hazing incident at Hot Springs High School that took place this month was an assault and that two other victims from previous alleged incidents have come forward.
According to the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office following an investigation, it was learned that on Oct. 19 before football practice, an incident took place in the Hot Springs High School locker room in which a group of five football team members were involved in an assault on another team member. Sheriff Hamilton explains that four individuals held the victim down while the fifth individual put his unclothed buttocks and genitalia on the victim’s face.
The victim’s parent learned of the incident who then reported it to the high school football coach. It was then immediately reported to the high school principal. Sheriff Hamilton explains that during their investigation, the department was able to find video evidence of the incident.
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All of the students involved in the incident were members of the football team, four of whom are minors while one student involved is 18-years-old.
The sheriff’s office states that since the incident, two additional victims have come forward claiming that similar occurrences have taken place after sporting events. SCSO states that they are in the process of corroborating those allegations. Officials say at this point in the investigation, the victims are known to be underclassmen while the alleged perpetrators are upperclassmen.
Sheriff Hamilton says that there is no evidence any members of coaching staff or high school staff knew of the incident. “I can tell you that again, as this investigation has progressed, we have not found any indication, any evidence or anything that would lead us to believe that coaching staff or any of the high school staff were in fact complicit with this or had any knowledge of this going on,” said Hamilton.
Sheriff Hamilton says that the sheriff’s office will be reviewing footage from outside of the locker room and will be consulting with the local district attorney to determine possible charges.
“The 18-year-old is facing probably the most severe charges at this point, right off the top, criminal sexual contact with a minor,” said Sheriff Hamilton. He says that the minors are possibly looking at delinquent offenses such as false imprisonment.
The Hot Springs High School football team’s coach resigned and the two remaining games left of the team’s season were canceled following the incident. The investigation is ongoing at this time.