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New Video Emerges of Girls' Hazing Incident

Friday, May 09, 2003

NORTHBROOK, Ill.  Shocking new videotape of the now-infamous Illinois "powder puff" football hazing melee shows high school girls chugging beer straight from a keg and some teens pummeling schoolmates with their fists.

In one segment of the home video, girls wearing bright yellow football jerseys can be seen being held upside down over a keg of beer by several boys while they drink straight from the tap. In another segment, several girls can be seen pounding on one girl with their fists while they push her down into the mud.

Criminal charges stemming from the incident in this well-to-do Chicago suburb likely will be filed next week, a police spokesman said Friday.

Authorities are trying to determine whether parents supplied the beer and some of the filth.

Five girls were hospitalized, including one who broke an ankle and another who suffered a cut that required 10 stitches in her head.

Steve Mayberry of the Cook County Forest Preserve police would not say how many people authorities are considering charging nor would he discuss the specific charges that might be filed in the incident.

Mayberry said because investigators are continuing to interview victims and witnesses and are analyzing videotapes of Sunday's incident, they would not be ready to announce charges until next week at the earliest.

He stressed, however, that the department will be recommending to the Cook County State's Attorney's office that charges be filed.

The story, which gained international attention after television news programs began airing the videotaped images, has left students and administrators at the school in the Chicago suburb of Northbrook humiliated and shocked.

"It's devastating to our school and to our community," said Glenbrook North High Principal Michael Riggle.

"It's annoying and embarrassing, because there are a lot of good people at GBN," junior Judd Hack, 17, said Thursday. "But it shouldn't be covered up either, because this is brutality to another human being by drunken buffoons."

The melee, videotaped by students and involving as many as 100 teenagers, occurred Sunday during a girls' touch football game. Seniors had invited juniors for what was described as an initiation into their senior year.

Two parents might have supplied kegs of beer, said school board member Tom Shaer.

The students apparently arranged the event in secret, taking pains to make sure school administrators -- who suspected the girls were planning something -- did not find out the time and place.

"We have determined the kids had a network of cell phones, pagers, text messages and Internet instant messages to keep each other informed," Shaer said.

For years, students at the school of more than 2,000 students have held a "powder puff" football game as a rite of passage for incoming seniors.

Shaer said in the past, administrators have been able to find out when and where the event was to take place in time to alert the police.

Zack Blum, a student who videotaped the event, said that hazing in previous years was limited to girls dumping food on other girls.

Rollin Soskin, a lawyer for three girls who were beaten, said there was no indication that this year would be any different.

"They were told no physical pain would be inflicted, no hair cutting, they wouldn't be made to eat anything," he said.

Jon Lee, a 17-year-old junior, said he knows three people who were injured.

"I think that whatever the local law enforcement and school officials want to give out as punishment, they deserve it," Lee said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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