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Placer hazing complaint goes to police

Junior varsity team hazing, harassment investigated
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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The Auburn Police Department has been brought into an investigation of alleged hazing involving the Placer High School junior varsity boys basketball team.

Police Lt. Victor Pecoraro said school officials contacted the department about the allegations and the police school resource officer is handling the investigation.

“It is in its infancy and we have very little information at this time,” Pecoraro said.

The district said Dec. 26 that several staff member were placed on administrative leave as part of an investigation into an allegation of hazing or harassment among members of the junior varsity team.

With the Kendall Arnett Basketball Tournament being held at the school that week, including an undercard of games involving host Placer High’s junior varsity team, a decision was made to suspend the JV boys basketball team. The team did not play and the freshman team under the freshman coach played in place of the junior varsity.

Also absent from the tournament was Placer High varsity coach Mark Lee, the school’s athletic director. The senior team was coached by his assistant.

Classes at Placer High resume after the Christmas break on Monday and the junior varsity boys basketball team has its first regular season game scheduled for Tuesday.

In confirming last week that the school is investigating a “hazing/harassment” allegation and placing “several” staff members on administrative leave, Placer Union High School District Public Information Officer Kristin Conner said the district “takes all threats to student safety seriously.”

Lee had not responded Friday to a request from the Journal for comment on the allegation.

Hazing has been a crime in California since 2006. The law was passed after the death of a 21-year-old college student who died in a fraternity initiation that involved drinking large amounts of water and doing exercises while being blasted with cold water and air.