Police continue to get reports of hazing incidents despite school investigation that did not turn up concrete evidence.
Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer confirmed a father of a De La Salle Collegiate student phoned the Michigan-based police department to report his son was a victim of hazing. The call came in a day following St. Clair County Prosecutor Michael Wendling’s announcement that no criminal charges would be filed involving alleged hazing after the school.
Dwyer said, “There’s a possibility that other possible victims may be coming forward.” Dwyer did not elaborate. Wendling stated he “is confident a crime was committed but that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to authorize charges against any individuals.”
The Warren Police Department had requested that prosecutors file warrants charging three members of the De La Salle football team with hazing. The prosecutor said his staff “conducted an extensive investigation of its own including re-contacting and re-interviewing witnesses; attempting to speak with victims; contacting school administrators and coaches multiple times; and attempting to access all evidence and reports held by the administrative staff at the all-boys high school.”
Wendling cited multiple factors that contributed to the prosecutor’s decision: “Physical evidence lost or stolen; Warren police not being contacted until after the school’s internal investigation was completed; Refusal of some De La Salle school staff to be interviewed; Documents drafted during the school’s independent investigation being withheld by school administrators at the request of the school’s attorney; Purported victims and their families not providing sufficient information.”
“The non-cooperation from De La Salle staff is especially upsetting considering that they are the people who have an obligation to protect these children and are mandated to report any misconduct,” Wendling stated. “While it is understandable that witnesses and victims were reluctant to come forward given the nature of these allegations, it is disappointing that information regarding the specifics of the assault have not been provided.”
Dwyer added, “Obviously, the prosecutor from St. Clair County is disappointed. I’m disappointed in the way it was handled by the school’s administration. They didn’t cooperate with the Warren Police Department and didn’t cooperate with the prosecutor’s office.” De La Salle hired a private investigator who also confirmed he expended his budget due to the “multiple roadblocks” faced in trying to conduct an internal probe.
“We have sought to cooperate with the prosecutor’s office and law enforcement authorities at all levels and with all things. We continue to appreciate how difficult their work is and will continue to cooperate fully with them as together we create a safe and positive learning environment,” De La Salle President John Knight and Principal Nathan Maus said. “In all cases, our commitment is to act with the best interests of our students and their families. We recognize that people of integrity will not always agree on all decision, however, we will always seek to work for what it best for our students.”
They did admit, “Information was obtained that students in the locker room were not always supervised which made hazing incidents possible.”
Dwyer stated the school’s investigation “was tainted from the beginning.” He added, “Any new allegations will be taken seriously. We’ve got an obligation to investigate.”