Mohawk Football Team Resumes Schedule After 2-Game Suspension Over Hazing Allegations – WPXI

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Pa. — The Mohawk Warriors football team will be back on the field Friday night after what some are calling a very lenient two-game suspension. It comes after three 17-year-olds on the team were charged with what the district attorney calls “assault, humiliation and abuse,” out of five subclasses.

Parents, including those of the five victims, tell me their sons were abandoned, and despite the Lawrence County District Attorney’s public statements that no sex crimes took place in the high school equipment room, the parents say otherwise. Although the suspects are not at the school or on the team, victims say many of the witnesses who stood aside and did nothing to stop the abuse are still on the team.

Tara Giarratano is a civil rights attorney who handles Title IX cases for the Dyller and Solomon law firm in Philadelphia.

“Prosecutors have full discretion,” Giarratano told Channel 11. “Whether they decide to charge something like sexual assault, that doesn’t determine whether or not there was a sexual assault.”

She represents several victims in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania who say they were sexually assaulted in a high school football hazing case. The school district denies the sexual assaults in this case.

“It’s also difficult for young boys who are athletes to talk about it,” adds Giarratano. “She’s not the typical sexual assault victim we think of.”

Mohawk parents tell me that not all of the victims were comfortable detailing what happened to investigators and complete strangers, saying they felt ashamed, violated and humiliated as freshmen.

“It’s heartbreaking and it’s often the class year that we see victimized in these cases of sports hazing,” Giarratano continued.

As the Warriors resumed their season on Friday night, the New Castle News wrote an opinion piece about the team, questioning whether the program should return. Parents praise the article. Editor Pete Sirianni cited failures on many levels, adding in part:

“The upper classes are supposed to be the ones who set the tone and lead. Remember, character is what you do when no one is watching. He also wrote, “It’s pretty obvious that the 2022 Mohawk Warriors football team lacked leadership, character and a culture of caring.”

The parents tell Channel 11 they have met with the district attorney and the school principal, and that civil suits are likely.

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