Hazing probe into branding, waterboarding at Norwich University sales opportunities to legal expenses

Norwich College in Northfield. File photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

An investigation into allegations of branding and waterboarding involving two women’s athletics teams at Norwich University has led to 6 pupils facing civil violations for hazing, with 3 among them struggling with felony fees.

Northfield Police launched its probe last thirty day period just after receiving a report on March 20 from a member of the women’s rugby workforce, determined in court data as Amanda Lodi, that she was threatened by a human being with a knife in a dorm room at the college.

In an job interview with police two times later on, Lodi advised law enforcement she had been “branded” that evening by other rugby crew users and she considered they made use of pliers and a lighter to do it, according to court filings in the case. Lodi explained to police she would not have consented if she had been sober, in accordance to the submitting.

Police said they reviewed Lodi’s cellphone, with her permission, and located a video clip on Snapchat displaying Lodi keeping a chair down even though an additional female is sitting down on it with a washcloth on her confront. 

Yet another woman then poured liquid on to the fabric, which a Northfield law enforcement officer described in the filing as a “technique I would simply call waterboarding.”  

Police stated Friday that as a final result of an investigation 6 college students at the non-public army college in Northfield, ranging in age from 20 to 22, have been issued “hazing tickets.” The tickets are for civil violations with the situations read in the state’s Judicial Bureau.

The penalty for a hazing ticket is up to $5,000, however if a man or woman doesn’t contest it they can fork out a waiver penalty of $1,000, according to Norwich Law enforcement Main John Helfant.

“The Legislature, when they produced the hazing regulation, made it a ticket and not a legal offense,” he stated. 

A few of those students getting civil tickets also were issued criminal citations into Washington County Outstanding Court docket. 

One particular of the pupils, who is 21, is charged with uncomplicated assault and reckless endangerment, Helfant explained.

That college student, according to the law enforcement main, is billed under the state’s Youthful Offender legislation, which enables those 21 and underneath to have their scenarios dealt with in family courtroom driving closed doors. As a consequence, he stated, he is not releasing that person’s title. 

“We treat them just like a juvenile scenario,” Helfant mentioned of those people billed underneath that legislation. 

Two other learners will have their instances listened to in the county’s adult felony courtroom. Bryana Pena, 22, is billed with simple assault, and Lodi, also 22, is billed with reckless endangerment, Helfant claimed. 

Pena and Lodi ended up cited to surface in courtroom for arraignments on July 13.

Tries to get to Pena and Lodi for remark Friday afternoon by cell phone and via Fb ended up not profitable.

Helfant stated Pena and the 21-yr-outdated scholar are accused of branding Lodi.

The law enforcement main said Lodi and the 21-calendar year-previous allegedly took element in the waterboarding of a further pupil.

Helfant claimed some students had been issued only civil hazing tickets — and not charged criminally — because the branding in all those circumstances was voluntary. 

“They did it to another college student, and that college student volunteered to do it,” he mentioned.

The prison fees concerned allegations the place a man or woman did not consent or was so impaired they could not voluntarily consent, according to the law enforcement main. 

Helfant explained all six college students ended up users of the women’s rugby staff. But a spokesperson for Norwich University, Daphne Larkin, explained that a person was a member of the women’s lacrosse crew.

A webpage for the roster of the women’s rugby group was changed with a message stating that the misconduct allegations experienced produced media notice, with one particular media outlet linking to the team’s webpage as part of a tale.

“When we became aware of the connection, we concluded that it was correct to secure the student-athletes’ privateness,” the message mentioned. “ We have quickly taken off the staff roster with their personally determining info from the web-site.”

The webpage for the roster of the women’s lacrosse group lists Pena as a member.

Helfant reported the investigation did not uncover evidence of anybody with a knife who attacked Lodi that night, as experienced originally been reported. Also, the police chief said, the probe did not reveal evidence “at this time” that any coaches realized of the hazing.

A college student explained to police that she was aware that branding was taking place at the faculty and that “usually the collar brass for the corps uniforms” was utilized. 

The scholar reported the “NU” would be heated up and used to brand name someone, and she understood of a college student who had a person on her posterior, according to a court submitting. 

A filing also stated that a police officer in Northfield who had earlier worked at Norwich in safety “knew of folks currently being branded” with the “NU” collar brass of their uniforms.

Larkin, the school spokesperson, wrote in an e mail Friday that the university has a “zero tolerance” policy when it arrives to hazing. 

“Student athletes named in the investigation were suspended instantly soon after the incident occurred from representing the university through athletic competition,” Larkin wrote.   

The college has accomplished its have investigations and will be “taking acceptable disciplinary” action, Larkin said. She wrote that she could not provide even more facts on the college student self-discipline owing to federal regulation.

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