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Two juveniles charged in teammate's sex assault

| Friday, Oct. 25, 2002, 12:00 p.m.

Pittsburgh police charged two Central Catholic High School football players Thursday with sexually assaulting a teammate during an alleged hazing ritual this past summer.

The two boys, ages 15 and 16, surrendered to police last night on juvenile charges of indecent assault, unlawful restraint and conspiracy. Police said the boys were not charged with violating the state hazing law because it covers only college students. Police did not identify the boys, who were released to their parents' custody, because of their ages.

The Rev. Kris Stubna, secretary for education of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, said last night that police had not informed his office of the charges.

"If we get information that students are charged, they will be suspended immediately," Stubna said.

A 15-year-old former sophomore football player at the Oakland high school told police Sept. 3 that two teammates had attacked him between practice sessions Aug. 15.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review does not identify the victims of alleged sexual assault.

The alleged victim told police that one player held him down in the locker room while the other boy rubbed his genitals on the face of the alleged victim, police reported.

The two suspects then shaved the boy's head, police said. The alleged victim told police that the incident occurred in front of the entire football team.

The parents of the alleged victim reported the incident to school officials. Stubna said that the school conducted an investigation but found no evidence that the incident happened.

"There was no way it could be substantiated," Stubna said.

The diocese told the boy's parents they had the right to contact police, Stubna said. The boy transferred out of the school at that point, police said.

City sex assault detectives began an investigation in September. Cmdr. Maurita Bryant said that detectives started finding witnesses, but the investigation into a string of sexual assaults in the East End put the hazing investigation on hold.

Bryant said she does not foresee any further arrests.

Stubna said Central Catholic head football coach Art Walker Jr. and his assistants were interviewed and denied any knowledge of the incident.

"Hazing is not permitted in our schools," Stubna said. "If an allegation like this were to be substantiated, disciplinary action would be taken against anyone involved."

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