Bronx high school track team members charged with violent sexual abuse for disturbing hazing
Three track team members from the Bronx High School of Science have been charged with violent sexual abuse after they allegedly hazed a younger student in disturbing fashion. According to CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez, the three students have been charged as adults with forcible touching, assault, hazing in the second degree and harassment.
The suspects were all teammates of the alleged victim’s and have been identified as as Thomas Brady, 16; Boubacar Diallo, 16; and Pier Berkmans, 17. The victim said his teammates began assaulting him in December when one of them allegedly told him, “You need a good fingering, you freshman,” and proceeded to penetrate him through his clothing.
In January, the victim says the suspects threatened to rape him if he did not allow them to touch him sexually. The boy also said he was held down and sexually assaulted and that the older boys struck him in the genitals with water bottles. According to the complaint, the most recent attack took place last week when the victim was held on the ground and sexually assaulted. He said he told the assaulters they were hurting him, to which one responded, “Don’t resist, we won’t hurt you.”
Valerie J. Reidy, the principal at Bronx High School of Science, insists the matter is being fully investigated and said that track activities have been put on hold until it is resolved.
“All track team events have been suspended until the investigation is completed,” Reidy wrote. “Understand that the decision was not an easy decision to make, and was not meant to be punitive to any of our students. We understand that not all members of the team were involved in the hazing; however, at this time, we do not know the magnitude or severity of the incident(s) and who specifically is involved.”
Some students at the school said they were surprised by the accusations while others seemed to chalk it up to something all younger athletes go through.
“You don’t really expect that from people,” Rafael Rios said. “This school is supposed to be one of the top schools in New York, so it’s kind of crazy that such smart kids are doing such ridiculous actions.”
“Most likely, these three that have been charged had it done to them by other seniors and it just goes on,” a junior at the school said.
The parents of one of the accused students, Pier Berkmans, are urging people to wait to hear the facts until they pass judgment.
“He’s a good kid, and we are sure as his parents,” Pier’s mother Yekaterina Berkmans said. “He is someone incapable of doing the dirty things he is accused of.”
Pier’s father, Jan Berkmans, said he is confident the issue will be resolved because we are dealing with “just allegations” and that his son would not do something like that to a fellow student.
Younger students getting picked on by their teammates is something that schools will likely never be able to put a stop to, but there’s a point where hazing crosses into dangerous and disturbing territory. Things like forcing younger players to dress up in costumes are funny. When you get into tying water bottles to genitals and playing games like “ookie cookie,” something has to be done.