News - Joliet and Will County

Superintendent lays out hazing investigation timeline

Alleged victims went to football coach

Plainfield Central football

Plainfield School District Superintendent Lane Abrell released a timeline on how an investigation of a report of potential hazing led to four Plainfield Central High School students facing battery charges.

About 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, “players, or student athletes that were victims” reported an “incident” to a football coach, Abrell said.

About a half hour later, Abrell said, the head football coach contacted the school’s athletic director, who in turn alerted a vice principal.

The school’s principal was also notified, Abrell said.

Abrell said he received a call informing him of the situation about 6:45 p.m.

A meeting was held with the alleged victims, Abrell said, and the police were contacted at 7 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18.

School officials started a parallel investigation, Abrell said, and the alleged victims, witnesses and potential “offenders” were interviewed.

Abrell said he visited Plainfield Central High School the same day.

The “student offenders,” Abrell said, were pulled out of extracurricular activities and suspended from school pending administrative review.

While the police investigation continued, Abrell said, the investigation by school staff stopped for the weekend, then resumed the morning of Monday, Oct. 21.

At 2:15 p.m. that day, Abrell said, a message was sent out to parents informing them “of a situation of potential hazing involving student-athletes.”

About 45 minutes later, Abrell said, the Plainfield police issued a news release on the matter.

In the release, police said investigators “determined the initial allegation of a ‘hazing incident’ does not meet the statutory definition of Hazing ... as it was not part of an induction process and no bodily harm occurred.”

The four students were still charged with misdemeanor battery.

On Wednesday, police Cmdr. Ken Ruggles said the investigation of the incident yielded “no evidence of a sex crime.”

Joseph Hosey

Joseph Hosey

Joe Hosey became editor of The Herald-News in 2018. As a reporter, he covered the disappearance of Stacy Peterson and criminal investigation of her husband, former Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson. He was the 2015 Illinois Journalist of the Year and 2014 National Press Club John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award winner.