Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
Four Lisbon High School Students Charged Following Hazing Incident
By Jillian Petrus & Trish Mehaffey, Reporters
LISBON, Iowa Four Lisbon High School wrestlers were charged Thursday with misdemeanor assault charges for multiple incidents of bullying which came to light in late December.
Nathan Taylor Jubeck, 18, and Dakota Christian VanDyke, 18, are charged with misdemeanor assault stemming from an incident in the shower locker room, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.
Delinquency charges of assault and third-degree harassment have also been filed in juvenile court against two 17-year-olds for incidents which occurred in the wrestling room, according to a news release from the Linn County Attorney's Office Thursday.
The allegations came to light in December when a 15-year-old member of the team reported to school officials and the Lisbon Police Department that some upperclassmen of the team held him down while others allegedly placed their genitalia in his face, according to the release. The incident occurred before the coaches arrived and practice began.
In another reported incident, other wrestlers allegedly urinated on the 15-year-old in the shower of the locker room after practice concluded, according to the release. The 15-year-old didn't immediately report the abuse until some of the members threatened to continue such acts against him.
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said he asked the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation to assist the Lisbon Police after officers identified at least three other victims on the team when questioned reported being subjected to the same type of physical contact. Vander Sanden said the families of these three other alleged victims requested that criminal charges not be filed on their behalf.
Vander Sanden said the wrestling coaches were interviewed and denied knowledge of the incidents. Investigators never received information from any source suggesting the coaching staff was aware of the alleged abuse, he said.
The DCI also interviewed the families of the students who didn't want to pursue charges to confirm their decisions, Vander Sanden said. Wrestlers who were accused of committing the acts were questioned and investigators also subpoenaed the written records of the investigation conducted by the Lisbon School District.
The school district hasn't released the results of its investigation. Superintendent Brad Laures released a statement after wrestling practiced was canceled in December saying they started an investigation into a "student behavior issue." There was no information released on how many students were disciplined or punished.
Vander Sanden said he would not comment on camera Thursday, but did tell us filing simple misdemeanor charges usually does not take this long.
"We had to call in a separate law enforcement agency, and we were following the actions of the school district that also conducted an investigation," he said. "They are simple misdemeanors, but they're also serious allegations. We wanted to make sure we were thorough in gathering the facts and making the correct charging decision rather than a hasty decision."
Throughout the investigation, questions arose as to why the Linn County attorney was not looking at sexual charges in this case. Vander Sanden says that is a result of state law.
"We could not file more serious sexual assault charges, because in Iowa, in order to prove a sex crime, you have to prove the crime was committed for a sexual purpose or the purpose of sexual gratification," he said. "The allegations we had here had nothing to do with such gratification, sexual purpose or intent. It appears to all have been done to embarrass or humiliate the victims. There was no sexual component to the activity."
Editor's Note: Commenting on this story has been disabled.