NORTHFIELD, Vt. (AP) — Three Norwich University students are facing criminal charges and others are being ticketed for hazing after an investigation into allegations of branding and waterboarding involving the women's rugby team at the private military college, Northfield police said Friday.
One 22-year-old female student is charged with simple assault and another is charged with reckless endangerment in the March 20 incident. Another student, 21, is charged with both simple assault and reckless endangerment, according to the police department.
They and three other students are being ticketed for hazing, a civil infraction. Five of the students are members of the women's rugby team and one is on the women's lacrosse team, Norwich said. The civil infraction is handled by the Judicial Bureau and carries a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, police said.
Norwich said in a statement that it has “zero-tolerance regarding hazing misconduct from our students" and will take appropriate disciplinary action now that its investigations are completed.
Northfield Officer Karie Tucker said in an affidavit that she went to the school on March 20 for a report of someone being held at knifepoint. Tucker said she spoke to the woman two days later and that person reported that she had been “branded” using pliers and a lighter by other members of the rugby team. The victim said she was too intoxicated to say no and would not have agreed to be branded had she been sober, The Barre Montpelier Times Argus had reported.
The student athletes named in the investigation were suspended immediately from representing the school in athletic competition, the school.
Norwich said it continues “to work in full collaboration with law enforcement entities.” It was not immediately known if the three students cited into court are being represented by attorneys.