The Bronx High School of Science, one of New York's elite public schools, has been stunned by an alleged hazing scandal that resulted in the arrest and suspension of three track athletes, the New York Times reported March 4.
Three students -- Thomas Brady, 16, Boubacar Diallo, 16, and Pier Berkmans, 17 -- have been charged as adults with "forcible touching, hazing, harassment and assault" of a freshman team member over several months, the Times reported.
Principal Valerie Reidy told parents in a letter that, while not all athletes were involved in the hazing, track events would be suspended while the school continues to investigate, according to the paper.
The New York Daily News mentioned some of the accusations in chilling detail. Citing the criminal complaint, the News wrote that Diallo allegedly told the victim, "You need a good fingering, you freshman," before digitally penetrating him through his shorts. In another alleged incident included in the complaint, Berkmans ordered the boy to touch his penis or be raped, then pressed his groin against the boy through his pants, the News wrote.
A teammate of one of the accused said hazing happened on a regular basis. “Some of the juniors and seniors tend to make fun of the freshmen,” sophomore Allen Qu told the tabloid. “Sometimes they might like to touch them inappropriately.”
Media outlets' attempts to reach the boys were unsuccessful, but Berkmans' parents told CBS New York (in the video above) their son was innocent.
The station also reported that the suspects will meet with the school superintendent on March 7 to find out if they can resume school and will return to court on Friday. All three pleaded innocent when they were charged on Feb. 27.
According to U.S. News and World Report, Bronx Science is among the top 10 schools in the state and is ranked 63rd nationally. The school also boasts one of the city's best track and field programs, and Berkmans is one of the stars. He ran the mile in 4 minutes, 25.45 seconds at the recent New Balance Games in New York City. But his dad, Jan Berkmans, told CBS his son wasn't able to compete last weekend in the state championships because of the arrest.