“The public is looking for answers and, unfortunately, we won’t have any tonight,” said Hamilton County school board chairman Jonathan Welch, said during a board meeting Wednesday that the Chattanooga Times Free Press estimated was attended by more than 100 people. In the meeting, which lasted less than four minutes, Welch read a statement assuring the public that the incident is not being “swept under the rug.”
“I ask that law enforcement be allowed to do their jobs and investigate,” Welch said. “We cannot supersede any law enforcement investigation, but we can benefit from their investigation if we allow them the space to work.”
The alleged victim, a 15-year-old student, is recovering from surgery and presently is using a colostomy bag and catheter after his rectum and bladder were ruptured by a wooden pool cue, unnamed sources told the Times Free Press. It is not known how long he will require those or whether he’ll need further surgery.
An aunt, whose identity was withheld by the Times Free Press, told the paper that the victim informed investigators and family members that the incident was recorded on video.
“Horseplay is one thing, to ram an object in someone’s rectum is to cause harm,” a mother of one player, whose identity is being withheld by the Times Free Press, told the paper last week. “It’s not regular behavior.”
Two mothers interviewed by the paper said that their sons were among four players who were being hazed by older teammates. They were punched, kicked, thrown to the ground and struck with pool cues, the mothers said.
“I thought the worst thing we had to worry about was them sneaking a little girl into the room, not this happening,” one of the mothers told the Times Free Press. “This could not happen in my wildest nightmares.”