A 19-year-old former Waynesville High School Spartans football player was sentenced on Wednesday to 30 days in the Warren County jail and 100 hours of community service.
Hunter Brown also was ordered to write letters of apology to the team and a younger player on the team whom he allegedly mistreated during the 2016 season.
Judge Timothy Tepe also banned Brown from school property during three years on probation and barred him from contact with the victim, who was 14 years old in 2016 when the alleged incidents took place in Waynesville and at a football camp in Indiana, according to police reports.
Since then, the school district has instituted 22 Strong, a program designed to emphasize the importance of respecting each other and other community values by students participating in extracurricular activities.
“We don’t accept hazing, we don’t accept bullying, We don’t accept any kind of harassment,” Wayne Local Schools Superintendent Pat Dubbs said. “We’ve emphasized it more because of what happened.”
On Wednesday, Brown, who pleaded guilty in October, was sentenced on a charge of retaliation, agreed upon during consultations with Brown’s family and lawyer, the victim’s family and prosecutors. Brown initially was indicted on charges of gross sexual imposition, child endangering, menacing by stalking and unlawful restraint in April.
“The indictment blew things so out of proportion,” Brown’s lawyer Martin Hubbell said before the hearing.
Brown put his genitals against the boy and hit the boy while holding him down in what was known on the team as the “10 candy bar game,” according to police records.
Hubbell said Brown’s initial alleged actions were not criminal or sexual. Hubbell described them as “disgusting locker-room behavior.”
Brown was expelled and graduated from an online school, according to statements in court. He will be allowed to go to work while serving the jail sentence.
“I pray this experience has impacted you in ways you will never forget. I hope you will never take advantage of another human being,” the victim said before the sentencing.
The case was the result of an investigation by Waynesville police “after an incident where another freshman had soap put in his cleats,” according to County Prosecutor David Fornshell.
“The coaches interviewed the players and this was reported. Coaches informed the school administration, who interviewed the football players and then contacted police. Brown was suspended from the team,” Fornshell said in written responses to questions about the case.
The charge on which Brown was convicted relates to his actions after the alleged bullying was reported.
“Brown approached the victim after a football game and told the victim to pick up a football. When the victim refused, Brown made threatening and racial comments to victim,” Fornshell said.
The police interviewed the entire team before submitting the case to prosecutors.
“This divided the team down the middle,” Hubbell said.
The new case was filed on Oct. 3, when Brown pleaded guilty through a bill of information, rather than after an indictment.
“In looking at possible resolutions, that charge accomplished what all involved parties were seeking as a resolution,” Fornshell said.