Seven New Jersey high school students have been charged following a string of sexual assaults in a hazing controversy that prompted officials to cancel the remainder of the school's football season, the New York Times reported on Friday.
Six of the seven teenagers from Sayreville War Memorial High School were arrested on Friday evening in connection with four assaults on four different students last month, the Times reported, citing Middlesex County prosecutor Andrew Carey. Police are still searching for the seventh teen, the Times reported.
Three of the defendants were charged with an array of sexual assault and hazing charges, while one of those three and the four others were charged with aggravated assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, and other crimes, the Times said.
The high school, which has about 1,700 students, canceled the remaining games for its freshman, junior varsity and varsity football teams, Moreen Proudman, a school district spokeswoman, said on Tuesday.
Reported incidents of intimidation and other bullying involving football players at the school were largely allowed by the players, said Richard Labbe, the schools superintendent for Sayreville borough.
The incidents "took place on a pervasive level, a wide-scale level and on a level in which the players knew, tolerated and generally accepted," Labbe told reporters at a news conference on Monday night.
The Sayreville Bombers varsity football team has won three state sectional championships and the head coach, George Najjar, was inducted into the New Jersey Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.