The Kelly Walsh High School (Wyo.) wrestlers accused of waterboarding their freshman teammate won’t be charged with any crimes, as Natrona County District Attorney Michael Blonigen said Thursday that while the actions did amount to hazing, he couldn’t press charges because of what he perceived to be the victim’s consent.
There are two different stories, via the Casper Star-Tribune. The boy’s family said that at no part was the unnamed victim okay with the waterboarding. Blonigen said that according to police interviews with the victim and “others involved,” the victim, who had a towel over his face, struggled because he thought his teammates were urinating on him, but when he had the towel removed from his face, he saw it was water and stopped resisting. From the report:
“If you consent to an assault, then it’s not an assault,” Blonigen said. He added that it doesn’t appear that the incident was a common practice within the wrestling team.
The district attorney went on to dispute any part of the incident was waterboarding, though he said the alleged assailants used the phrase before the attack began.
Blonigen said he could only speculate why the victim stopped fighting.
“Maybe the kid just thought, ‘I’ll get along with it, it’ll be over with,’” Blonigen said.
He also said that the victim told police that he “wanted to see what it was like.”
“He kind of laughed about it,” Blonigen said of the victim.
Waterboarding violates the Geneva Conventions and can’t be lumped in with goofy high school hazing like bad haircuts or packing peanuts in a locker. And if the student did go along with it so that it would be over more quickly, as Bloingen guessed, how the hell does that mean it isn’t a crime?
Also puzzling is that although Blonigen said he didn’t think the waterboarding was a common practice at Kelly Walsh, he attempts to excuse this specific incident by saying, “Kids do this, they have done it for years.”
H/t to Sam