Coaches, Athletic Director Facing Charges Following Alleged Hazing Incident
Two high school basketball coaches and an assistant principal/athletic director are due in court this week to answer charges stemming from an alleged hazing incident that resulted in the hospitalization of a 15-year-old boy in Tennessee. Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston filed charges in the case last Thursday.
In the filing, Pinkston accuses Ooltewah High School head boys' basketball coach Andre Montgomery, assistant coach Karl Williams, and assistant principal/athletic director Allard J. Nayadley of failure to comply with a law requiring "mandatory reporting of child abuse and/or suspected child sexual abuse." Juvenile Court Judge Robert Philyaw "found reasonable grounds to believe the defendants violated the reporting requirements as alleged" and summoned the trio to court on Jan. 21.
The complaint stems from an alleged incident that took place in late December, in which three Ooltewah players supposedly used a wooden pool stick to sodomize one of their teammates. The three were charged with aggravated rape and aggravated assault in Sevier County, and "additional charges are expected to be filed in Hamilton County," according to the district attorney's press release.
According to an affidavit from investigator Lisa Mathis, "four freshmen basketball players were subjected to assaultive behavior including but not limited to being struck with pool cues and also these four freshman basketball players were subjected to apparent sexual assault." Mathis alleges that "after being made aware of these allegations," Montgomery, Williams, and Nayadley "did not notify the Department of Children's Services or Sheriff of the County where the children reside or the Chief of Police of the municipality where the children reside or the Juvenile Court Judge having jurisdiction over the children," a claim which Hamilton County detective Mickey Rountree affirmed.
In early January, Hamilton County Superintendent Rick Smith announced the district's decision to abruptly end the boys' basketball team's season, citing a request from local law enforcement for the board of education "to take whatever steps might be reasonable not to fuel the speculation" surrounding the case.
"A great deal of the public speculation has centered around the operation of Ooltewah High School's boys' varsity basketball program," Smith said. "Since this speculation is likely to continue until the investigation is concluded, and since this speculation could threaten the integrity of law enforcement's investigation, I have decided to end the team's 2015-2016 season."
Prior to the announcement of the charges against the school officials, Smith transferred Montgomery to the district's Textbook Depository "pending the results of the criminal investigation," according to Kendi Anderson of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Upon learning of the charges filed against Montgomery, Williams, and Nayadley, Smith placed the three on unpaid suspension pending the outcome of the investigation, Anderson reported.
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