Cañon City Police Department closes hazing investigation regarding high school football team

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CAÑON CITY, Colo. — The Cañon City Police Department (CCPD) has closed an investigation regarding hazing reports involving the city’s high school varsity football team.

According to CCPD, on Sept. 22, Canon City RE-1 School District Administrative staff contacted the police department with a report that had been made regarding an allegation of possible student hazing within the varsity football team.

According to school staff, a student-athlete brought forth a concern about an initiation ritual. High school administration conducted an initial investigation into the allegations on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 21.

At the end of that day, the administration shared its findings with the district administration and decided there was enough concern to move forward with a formal investigation conducted by an outside entity.

CCPD was then asked to conduct an investigation in order to determine if the initiation ritual was criminal in nature. According to police, the community was not notified due to the situation being an active criminal investigation. However, school administrators met with varsity team players, which took place on Tuesday, Sept. 28, to convey the message that retaliation against any player would result in disciplinary action.

CCPD, in partnership with Kindred Kids Child Advocacy Center, coordinated and conducted interviews with cooperating varsity team members to identify witnesses and potential victims of hazing on Tuesday, Sept. 28.

CCPD has since closed the criminal investigation and has provided the case status to district/school administration. The student interviews failed to support a burden of proof sufficient to believe that a violation of State law occurred, specific to the allegation.

CCPD also provided evidence that corroborated the district’s initial investigation to include:

  1. That the activity under investigation occurred during team dinners which were being hosted at player’s parent’s homes.
  2. That the dinner was attended by most of the team.
  3. That while the activity met the definition of “hazing” as defined by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CSHAA) bylaws (paragraph 1710.2), the investigated events lacked sufficient facts to support a violation of the “hazing” laws pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes (18-9-124(2)(a))
  4. Further, the CCPD found no evidence that team coaches or school officials were
    involved or knew about the reported ritualistic events that occurred at any of the team
    dinners. Whereas there was no information provided to law enforcement sufficient to support a criminal charge, anyone with additional information regarding the pattern or practice of “hazing,” or anyone with specific knowledge of harassment or assault should contact the Canon City Police Department to report such activity.

While the case is officially inactive, police said the case can be reopened at any time should new information become available.

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