NJ high school sex assault suspects will reportedly be tried as juveniles
By RYAN GORMAN
The students accused in an October locker room sexual assault that led to the cancellation of a high school football season will reportedly be charged as minors.
Authorities have decided against charging the "Sayreville Seven" as adults, sources have told the New York Daily News. Previous reports suggested the case would be moved from juvenile court to adult court.
The students were arrested October 11 after a freshman football player told his parents he was sodomized in the locker room following practice, according to reports. Other students have made similar claims in the weeks since reports of the incident first emerged.
"It's huge news for the kids who were arrested," the source told the paper. "The charges are still serious, but trust me, juvenile court is where they want to be, not adult court."
The defendants are all students at Sayreville War Memorial High School, in New Jersey, and range in age from 15 to 17-years-old.
Keeping the case in juvenile court prevents their names from being made public even if they are found guilty. It also significantly lessens any punishment they might face.
Three of the suspects face aggravated sexual assault charges which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years behind bars if convicted. Juvenile courts carry much less severe penalties.
Juvenile courts normally focus on rehabilitation instead of the lengthy prison terms found in adult criminal courts.
News of the development came as the 30-day deadline for the prosecutor to submit a waiver to have the case moved from juvenile to adult court came, according to the Daily News.
The prosecutor is not expected to make that filing, the paper reported.
"I never really expected the prosecutor to pursue a waiver in this case, but it was so hyped from the outset you never know," said the source.
The prosecutor's office declined to comment publicly on the matter.
The shocking claims against the storied Sayreville football program, a perennial state powerhouse, led Superintendent of Sayreville schools Richard Labbe to cancel the remainder of the season.
The future of the football program hangs in limbo even as those accused in the hazing scandal likely will never be publicly named.
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