CHICAGO (CBS) — The Wheaton College football team suspends players accused of hazing a teammate.
Two of the five players facing felony charges in a hazing scandal have turned themselves in to police.
Kyler Kregel, a senior from Michigan, turned himself in Tuesday evening without saying a word. Noah Spielman, a senior from Ohio, and the son of former NFL linebacker Chris Spielman, turned himself in later Tuesday. Both players were released after posting bond.
Spielman did not comment when confronted by reporters while leaving the Wheaton police station late Tuesday night. However, earlier in the day, his attorneys released a statement claiming his innocence.
Kregel, Spielman, and three teammates have been charged with felony charges of aggravated battery, mob action, and unlawful restraint.
A judge signed arrest warrants for Spielman, Kregel, James Cooksey, Benjamin Pettway, and Samuel TeBos, setting their bonds at $50,000. Cooksey, Pettway, and TeBos were expected to turn themselves in later this week.
The son of former NFL player Chris Spielman bonded out of the Wheaton Police Department on Tuesday night, as he did not want to miss school, according to his just appointed attorney, Marc Sutter.
“He is certainly, shall I say, frustrated, disappointed,” Sutter said.
The victim’s lawyer said those young men allegedly duct taped him, put a pillowcase over his head, threw him in a car, threatened to sexually assault him, then dumped him half naked on a baseball field.
“The one thing these boys did was they put the fear of God into him. He was scared out of his mind,” said attorney Terry Ekl. “They tore both his labrums in his two shoulders.”
Ekl said his client will never play football again after what happened.
Wheaton College has said the five players were disciplined for the incident, but has declined to specify their punishment, citing privacy rules. Ekl said he is only aware of an NCAA punishment against the accused, which amounted to community service and writing an essay.
Spielman’s agent, Bret Adams, said the boys believed they had served their punishment a year ago, after Wheaton College conducted its investigation.
“If people believe there’s a coverup, they’re misinformed,” he said.
Adams said Spielman knows what hazing is, and the limits of what he’s allowed to do.
“He didn’t cross the line in any involvement that he had in this case,” he said.
Kregel’s attorney said there’s more to the story, but declined to elaborate.
“There’s always parts of a story that nobody knows about until we get into it, but there is a lot here,” Christine Field said.
Field said she can’t reveal more at this point.
“We’ll try the case in court,” she said.
The law firm representing Spielman said Wheaton College “exonerated these gentlemen over one year ago.”
But Spielman’s just appointed attorney rephrased that.
“I guess maybe exonerate could be the wrong word, but the fact is, they were punished, they were handled internally,” Sutter said.
Spielman’s agent told CBS 2 on Tuesday night the young men performed community service and sat out a game. Wheaton College administrators will not confirm those penalties citing confidentiality.
“Our internal investigation into the incident, and our engagement with an independent, third-party investigator retained by the College resulted in a range of corrective actions. We are unable to share details on these disciplinary measures due to federal student privacy protections,” Wheaton College spokeswoman LaTonya Taylor said.
All five players were still listed on the team’s roster, but Wheaton College said they can no longer practice or play, pending the results of the criminal investigation.
Police told CBS 2 on Wednesday that two players reported being victimized that same night, but only one went forward with a criminal investigation.
It has left the campus community confused, so student leaders organized a forum for question on Wednesday night. A big one: why the criminal charges 18 months later?
“We weren’t waiting on forensics, we weren’t’ waiting on DNA, we weren’t waiting on blood spatter, we – I’m not sure what we were waiting on,” Sutter said.
Wheaton Police said on Tuesday that this investigation involved multiple interviews and was interrupted by summer break.
The Council on Christian Colleges and Universities released a statement on Wednesday saying, “We share in Wheaton’s sadness and are devastated by the horrible conduct identified in the allegations. The alleged conduct is unacceptable and goes against the shared Christian faith of our CCCU institutions and the values of all higher education institutions. We are encouraged that Wheaton’s Board of Trustees has arranged a campus-wide review of the College’s anti-hazing policy in response to this deeply troubling situation, and pray for justice and healing for all involved.”