FREEHOLD – Juvenile complaints have been filed against a number of Wall Township High School students as the result of two separate investigations conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Monday.
Juvenile complaints charging hazing, attempted criminal sexual contact, criminal sexual contact, false imprisonment, and harassment were filed against the juvenile defendants following an investigation into a series of incidents that occurred during September and October 2021 in the Wall Township High School football team’s locker room.
Following a separate investigation, unrelated to the hazing investigation, juvenile complaints charging aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault were also filed against one juvenile in connection with alleged conduct that occurred outside of school.
These investigations have been conducted in consultation with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General (OAG), and in strict adherence to OAG Directive No. 2020-12, Establishing Policies, Practices, and Procedures to Promote Juvenile Justice Reform, issued in December 2020.
“The results of our investigations necessitated the filing of juvenile complaints against those involved in order to serve the interests of justice,” Acting Prosecutor Linskey said.
Specifically, as it relates to the hazing investigation, Linskey stressed that “it is imperative that victims of hazing, harassment, intimidation, and bullying know that such conduct is not a ‘rite of passage’ and should not be endured without consequence in order to gain acceptance in social, club, sport, or academic settings. We are hopeful that the lessons gleaned from this case foster a renewed focus on actively teaching juveniles in all of our schools what conduct crosses the line of acceptability, and what students must do if they are a bystander or victim of hazing, harassment, intimidation, or bullying.”
While no information is released regarding most juvenile cases, the Prosecutor’s Office is releasing the above information today in response to intense public scrutiny regarding these matters and a high degree of misinformation circulating with regard to them, as well as in order to educate and inform the community regarding the seriousness of such conduct.
No additional information on this matter is being released at this time, and the specific number of juvenile defendants involved is not being disclosed, as the Prosecutor’s Office is seeking to remain in adherence to the confidentiality tenets outlined by the New Jersey Code of Juvenile Justice. Under state law, the identities of all such juveniles involved are kept strictly confidential, and likewise, Family Court proceedings involving juveniles are closed to the public.