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Old 11-04-2018, 09:37 AM
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Default I was scorched with hot iron and sexually assaulted: JROTC cadet

https://nypost.com/2018/11/03/cadet-...hazing-ritual/

I was scorched with hot iron and sexually assaulted: JROTC cadet
By Susan Edelman and Sara Dorn
November 3, 2018 | 6:48pm | Updated

The Queens high-school student allegedly branded by fellow Junior ROTC cadets with a clothes iron begged them to stop the scorching — and then was sexually assaulted while upperclassmen filmed the “brutal hazing” ritual, he and his parents charge.

In what his teammates called a “tradition,” the teen says, he was forced to lay on his stomach with his pants down while an older student wielded the hot iron and burned his butt three times — each with increasing pressure, according to public documents obtained by The Post.

“I was … begging him not to give me another iron,” the student wrote in a statement to the city Department of Education filed in court. “He told me to . . . put a sock in my mouth, so I would not scream, so the Army instructors could not hear me.”

The 15-year-old, who is not being identified by The Post, also says his attackers threatened to burn him again if he did not masturbate and remove an “Airhead” candy from between the buttocks of another teen with his mouth.

While applying lotion to the burns, one of the older students attempted to penetrate him anally with a finger, his statement charges.

Laughter filled the room during the ordeal, he recounted.

The victim suffered “severe burns” and has transferred to a different school because of “embarrassment and trauma,” his family says in court papers.

The students were members of the Raiders, an athletic squad within Francis Lewis’ acclaimed Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. Principal David Marmor has disbanded the team. The DOE said the school “took disciplinary action,” but would not elaborate.

Michael Kutner, a lawyer representing the teen and his parents, said he believes similar hazing has gone on in past years.

“My own investigation indicates that it was not an isolated incident, and not the first of its kind in the Francis Lewis JROTC program,” Kutner said.

The teen’s parents filed a petition in Queens Supreme Court last month seeking to extend a 90-day deadline to file claims against the city. The family plans to sue the DOE and any employees who chaperoned the spring trip, including Col. Albert LaHood, the chief military instructor, Christopher Dash, and Shirley Madison. All are DOE employees who teach JROTC classes. Each was paid at least $114,725 last fiscal year.

The incident occurred on April 20, but the boy didn’t tell his parents until June 28, when he became “concerned about the state of the injuries to his buttocks,” his mother states in an affidavit.

“He informed us that he did not disclose the incident to any adults prior to that time because he was deeply embarrassed and traumatized by the attack, and was threatened by his assailants to remain silent,” she wrote.

The alleged hazing and sexual assault happened while the Raiders were staying at a Hilton Garden Inn in Westampton, NJ, near the Fort Dix military base, for a competition.

The alleged victim, a freshman at the time, claims he was in a hotel room with three other cadets when an older boy instructed him to “pull down my pants and underwear and get on the bed so he can iron me,” the student wrote.

When the student protested, the older kids insisted “it was tradition, and I should be grateful, because it has been a lot worse in the past.”

The first burning “hurt and left a small mark,” the student wrote, but the iron clicked off mid-branding.

Unsatisfied, the older student told the younger cadet to get back on the bed to undergo the “tradition” again — this time with a sock in his mouth to muffle any cries.

“5 minutes later I was complaining about it hurting and asking why [he] did it,” the alleged victim wrote. “[The older cadet] was getting annoyed with me complaining, so told me I am getting another iron to my butt.”

The older student then left for several minutes and “came back high” after smoking marijuana in another room, the accuser wrote.

The older cadets argued about who would deliver the third branding, but the initial aggressor insisted on doing it again, according to the boy’s statement.

“[He] did this ironing the hardest and pushed it hard on my butt cheek, so the mark would be really visible and it hurt a lot,” the student wrote.

After the boy soaked in a cold bath to ease his pain, another student rubbed lotion on the student’s backside with a plastic bag over his hand and “attempted to penetrate my butt,” the student wrote. The iron-wielding student videotaped the act, he added.

Then the older boys ordered a fourth cadet to massage the burned boy’s buttocks.

“When he was done massaging, they told him to take 3 sniffs of my butt,” the student wrote.

The injured boy says he was the given a choice: either remove an AirHead, a taffy-like candy, from between another cadet’s buttocks, or massage him.

The boy protested, but his aggressors threatened to iron him again, “so I did what they said and took out the Airhead with my mouth.”

The older boys then asked the younger student to go into the bathroom, watch porn, masturbate and come out with a “boner,” the alleged victim wrote. When he was unable to get an erection, he wrote, his aggressors asked him to pull down his pants and expose his penis. When he refused, he says, they ordered him to masturbate in the closet. He says he pretended to do so, while the other students videotaped.

Later that week, the student saw a video of the ironing circulated by other Raiders, he wrote.

When the student finally told his parents, his furious mom e-mailed the DOE the next day.

“I just found out yesterday that there is a brutal ritual of branding members of the team with a hot iron. To say that I am livid does not even begin to describe the emotions that I am feeling right now,” she wrote. “And this has been done to many other students.”

She complained that officials were slow to answer: “Maybe I’m not expressing myself well enough — my son was burned with an iron at a school competition. Does that not warrant an immediate call????” she wrote two-and-a-half hours after sending her initial email.

A spokesman for the Burlington County (NJ) Prosecutor’s Office, which is conducting a criminal investigation with the Westampton Police Department, declined to comment.

LaHood, Madison and Dash could not be reached for comment.

Michael Maddox, a spokesman for the national JROTC program in Fort Knox, KY, said it won’t take any actions unless the allegations are proven.
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