Three Brighton High School students have been permanently suspended following allegations that one sexually molested an adult hall monitor while the other two recorded the incident on a video camera.
Police said charges against the youths are pending in juvenile court.The incident occurred Tuesday afternoon outside the school when a male student approached the hall monitor from behind, grabbed him so he could not move and then simulated a sexual act, said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Bruce Thayne.
The student - a senior on the school's wrestling team - also grabbed the man in the genital area, he said.
Meanwhile, two other students - a senior and junior also on the school wrestling team - recorded the act with a video camera. A number of other students in the vicinity watched, Thayne said.
After releasing the man, the three students went to a home and showed the video recording to other students.
The three students allege the incident was a practical joke, an "end of school prank," Thayne said. "I guess this is the funniest thing they could think of."
But the hall monitor, in his early 50s, was "humiliated" and "devastated" by the experience, Thayne said.
"Students hoot at him in the halls," he said. "They think it's the funniest thing since puffed wheat."
The students told sheriff's officers they targeted the hall monitor, whose job is to maintain order in the halls, because "they thought he was the type who could take a joke," Thayne said.
The hall monitor has had no prior dealings with the three wrestlers, "but he does represent authority," Thayne said. "The school fears that if this goes unpunished, (similar incidents) could spread to other faculty."
Tom Owen, Jordan School District north area assistant superintendent, said the three students were suspended permanently on Wednesday. The two seniors will be allowed to graduate this spring, but not attend graduation ceremonies with fellow students, providing they complete their education at another school, Owen said.
Sheriff's officers plan to refer the boys to juvenile court on lewdness charges. The acts committed would warrant forcible sexual abuse charges if, as according to the law, an intent to cause "substantial emotional or bodily pain" could be proved.
Parents and attorneys of the three boys are scheduled to meet with school representatives and their attorneys Tuesday to appeal the suspensions.