COOPERSTOWN _ Five Cooperstown High School football players are named in summonses requiring them to answer to non-criminal harassment charges arising from alleged actions against one of their teammates after a September practice, according to court records.
Facing charges of second-degree harassment are: Jeffrey M. Flynn, 18; Boone C. Rose, 17; Ethan E. Telfer; Mitchell J. Bouton, 17; and Derek T. Liner, 17, according to documents reviewed by The Daily Star at Otsego Town Court.
The five are scheduled to answer the charges at 7 p.m. on Jan. 30.
The summonses were signed last week by Otsego Town Justice Dora Cooke after the Otsego County Sheriff's Department filed statements signed by the alleged victim, John M. Brown, 16, and a witness, Jeremy Folds, also 16.
Brown said in a signed statement that several boys accosted him in the tunnel leading from the football field to the locker room.
"I was grabbed and held down on the floor by Mitch Bouton, Ethan Telfer and other players who I don't remember. I was on my back and tried to get away. But they were holding me down."
He said one of them stripped off his pants and "put his butt and testicles on my forehead by my hairline. That person said, 'You got tea-bagged!'"
"I had my eyes closed during this and I couldn't see who 'tea-bagged' me," he said in the affidavit. "I was wiggling trying to get away during this."
"Afterwards, I opened my eyes and saw Jeff Flynn there. He poked me in my pants and by my anus with his finger," Brown said. "After that he and the other players left." Later that day, when his father came to drive him and Folds home, Brown said Folds identified Flynn as the young man who had put his rear end near his face.
However, Folds said in his affidavit that while he initially did tell Brown that Flynn was the one who put his rear end near Brown's face, he now believes Rose was the youth involved in that conduct.
Folds said in the signed statement that Brown "got the tunnel treatment" when three players _ Flynn, Liner and Rose _ "took John to the ground" while other players surrounded them in the tunnel.
After the boys allegedly removed Brown's helmet from his head, "Boone Rose took his pants down and sat on John's face," Folds recounted in a handwritten statement filed in court.
Folds wrote that this lasted for 10 to 20 seconds. "Everybody was laughing out loud," he wrote. "After that John got up and went to the locker room. I couldn't see if anything else happened to him."
Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl, asked about the investigation, said a review of the evidence by Assistant District Attorney Marvin Parshall Jr. determined there was no basis to charge any of the students with hazing.
"There was nothing that these kids did _ at least under the law _ that created a substantial risk of physical injury to one of the kids," he said.
The statements provided by Brown and Folds to investigators gave no indication that either player reported the alleged incident to team coaches or school officials.
Only one parent of one of the youths who Brown claims played a role in the alleged incident could be reached for comment Wednesday night.
Edward Telfer, father of Ethan Telfer, declined to comment when contacted by telephone.
Cooperstown Central School Superintendent C.J. Hebert, in a letter to parents sent Nov. 19, vowed that "appropriate penalties" would be imposed on any students involved in mistreating other students.
"This may well be a critical turning point for the school and the community," Hebert said in that letter. "If we are to effect meaningful and ongoing change in the CCS community, everyone must embrace the precepts of a philosophy that promotes dignity for all students. Subjecting others to denigrating ritual is unacceptable and this message must be universally embraced by our students, staff and community as a whole."
Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. acknowledged that the investigation has been concluded.
In his statement to investigators, Brown alleged he and at least one other player were targeted in other encounters with teammates.
"One day after practice it was raining when Jeff Flynn, Ethan Telfer and Mitch Bouton picked up Ben Carentz and threw him in the mud. They tried to pull his pants down but they couldn't. It was cold out that afternoon."
Brown continued: "Also one day after practice someone pulled my pants down but I'm not sure who did that. I was also smacked and hit on my upper body on more than one time. I was held down and hit probably six different times over the football season."