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Four teens charged in Lisbon, Iowa wrestling bullying investigation

Trish Mehaffey, CR Gazette –

UPDATE: Four former Lisbon High School wrestlers were charged Thursday with misdemeanor assault charges for multiple incidents of bullying which came to light in late December.

Nathan Taylor Jubeck, 18, and Dakota Christian VanDyke, 18, are charged with misdemeanor assault stemming from an incident in the shower at the school’s locker room, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.

Delinquency charges of assault and third-degree harassment have also been filed in juvenile court against Hunter Hutchison, 17, and Austin Edwards, 17, for incidents which occurred in the wrestling room, according to a news release from the Linn County Attorney’s Office Thursday.

The allegations came to light in December, when a 15-year-old member of the team reported to school officials and the Lisbon Police Department that some upperclassmen of the team held him down while others allegedly placed their genitalia in his face, according to the release. The incident occurred before the coaches arrived and practice began.

In another reported incident, other wrestlers allegedly urinated on the 15-year-old in the shower of the locker room after practice concluded, according to the release. The 15-year-old didn’t immediately report the abuse until some of the members threatened to continue such acts against him.

Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said he asked the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation to assist Lisbon Police after officers identified at least three other victims on the team, who when questioned, reported being subjected to the same type of physical contact. Vander Sanden said the families of these three other alleged victims requested that criminal charges not be filed on their behalf.

Vander Sanden said the wrestling coaches were interviewed and denied knowledge of the incidents, and investigators never received information from any source suggesting the coaching staff was aware of the alleged abuse, he said.

The DCI also interviewed the families of the students who didn’t want to pursue charges to confirm their decisions, Vander Sanden said. Wrestlers who were accused of committing the acts were questioned, and investigators also subpoenaed the written records of the investigation conducted by the Lisbon School District.

The school district hasn’t released the results of its investigation. Superintendent Brad Laures released a statement after wrestling practiced was canceled in December, saying they started an investigation into a “student behavior issue.” There was no information released on how many students were disciplined or punished.

Here’s the news release on the case from the Linn County Attorney’s Office:

Today the Linn County Attorney’s Office filed charges in connection with an investigation into allegations of inappropriate and offensive physical contact by members of the Lisbon wrestling team against other students on the team. The investigation was initiated on December 19th, 2011 when a fifteen (15) year old member of the wrestling team reported to school authorities and the Lisbon Police Department that certain upperclassmen of the wrestling team had committed several offensive and abusive physical acts against him. He reported that some members of the team had held him down while others allegedly placed their exposed genitals in his face in a practice referred as “tea-bagging.” These incidents allegedly took place in the wrestling room before the coaches arrived and practice began. On another occasion, other wrestlers had allegedly urinated on him in the shower of the locker room after practice concluded. The fifteen year old victim did not immediately disclose the abuse but decided to report the incidents when some threatened to continue future such acts against him.

While conducting the official investigation into the matter, the Lisbon Police Department was able to identify at least three other victims on the wrestling team who, when questioned, reported being subjected to the same type of inappropriate and offensive physical contact. However, the families of these three students requested that criminal charges not be filed on their behalf. None of the victims who were questioned indicated that the coaching staff had any knowledge of the incidents being investigated.

On January 4th, 2012, the Linn County Attorney requested that the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation assist the Lisbon Police Department in their investigation. The wrestling coaches were interviewed and all denied knowledge about any of the incidents of physical abuse being described by members of the team. Investigators never received information from any source suggesting that the coaching staff was aware of the incidents being reported. The DCI also re-contacted the families of the students who did not wish to pursue charges to confirm their preference that no criminal charges be filed on their behalf. Efforts were also made to question the wrestlers who were alleged to have committed these acts and investigators subpoenaed the written records of the investigation conducted by the Lisbon School District into the incidents.

Based upon the information gathered in the investigation, charges of assault have been filed against Nathan Taylor Jubeck (DOB: 8/28/1993) and Dakota Christian VanDyke (DOB: 1/24/1994) stemming from the alleged incident in the shower of the locker room. In addition, delinquency charges of Assault and Harassment in the 3rd Degree have been filed in juvenile court against Hunter Hutchison (DOB: 11/22/1994) and Austin Edwards (DOB: 5/20/1994) based upon the alleged incidents which occurred in the wrestling room. It is important to note that the charges themselves are only allegations and that the defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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