BOUNTIFUL — Two former Bountiful High School wrestlers have been charged in 2nd District Court and an assistant wrestling coach reprimanded by the school after an allegedly violent case of hazing on a team bus in December.
Christopher Brooks Fletcher, 18, is charged with two counts of sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor, and a count of hazing, a class B misdemeanor. Lamar Allen Gimmeson, 18, is charged with one count each of sexual battery and hazing.
Bountiful assistant coach Michael Weaver was disciplined by the school in connection with the alleged Dec. 20 incident, though Davis School District officials didn’t elaborate on the action taken against him. Weaver’s connection to the incident was also not publicly released by the school district. He was not criminally charged.
Weaver joined the team about two years ago, said Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams.
Two others who participated in the hazing will face charges in juvenile court, Bountiful Police Lt. Dave Edwards said. Seven boys, all members of the wrestling team, were released from the team and suspended from school in connection with the incident, Williams said.
Gimmeson graduated in 2014 and was a former member of the team.
A 15-year-old boy told Bountiful police he was returning home from a wrestling tournament with the team when he was pinned down and his mouth was covered by Gimmeson while Fletcher forcibly performed a sex act on him over his clothes and other boys spread his legs and punched his groin area.
“(The victim) stated that he was aware that junior and senior members of the wrestling team were calling younger members of the team to the back of the bus for hazing. (He) stated that he was called to the back of the bus and walked back ‘to get it over with,'" court documents state.
Another 15-year-old boy reported he was also hazed at the back of the bus, describing a similar incident. The boy said Fletcher “twisted his nipples and punched him in the groin several times,” according to charging documents.
“When the hazing was over, (multiple) boys said ‘Welcome to the team,” the documents state.
Gimmeson allegedly told police he held the first victim down but was unaware a sex act over the clothes was being performed on the boy.
Williams said Fletcher was not an assistant coach, as he is called in charging documents.
"This was an individual who had graduated from school and had come back to watch the tournament that they were involved with,” Williams said.
Gimmeson and Fletcher, who were charged in late March, will make their first court appearance at 1:30 p.m. May 1 before Judge Thomas Kay in Farmington.
Five of the disciplined boys were suspended by Davis School District, while two were suspended by Bountiful High School. The school has jurisdiction over suspensions lasting 10 days or less.
Williams said he is legally disallowed from discussing the exact length of the boys’ suspensions because of laws regarding student privacy. He also said he couldn’t speak about whether the hazing at Bountiful High was part of a tradition handed down by previous generations of students. Some members the team didn’t take part in the hazing at all, he said.
"In meetings with parents, meetings with faculty (and) meetings with coaches . the (remaining) wrestlers have said they have made the decision this will end here," Williams said. "This will no longer take place. Now they have to make sure they follow through with that commitment.”
The school district has dealt with hazing cases before where students and their parents were unwilling to name perpetrators, according to Williams.
"If we are to get rid of hazing, it’s an effort that everyone has to undertake,” he said. "It has to be school administrators. It has to be students. It has to be parents. We can’t do it by ourselves. If the culture is allowed to continue, it will continue."
Williams said he was appalled at the description of what happened.
"There may be people out there who think this is just fun and games, (that) this is just something that everyone goes through. That’s nonsense,” he said. "I read the allegations. It just sickens me, and I think it sickens most people.
The school district requires all students who participate in sports to sign an anti-hazing policy, according to Williams.
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