3 St. Paul's students given added discipline in scandal

Investigation finished, school attorney says

April 07, 2001|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Three students at St. Paul's School for Boys were handed further punishments yesterday for their roles in a sex scandal that led to the abrupt cancellation of the Crusaders' varsity lacrosse season.

Two of the students will remain suspended until April 16. A third will be allowed to return to classes Monday, but will be required to perform 40 hours of community service, Headmaster Robert W. Hallett said.

The three were among about 30 students suspended for three days this week and required to attend chapel services and meet with a school psychologist.

The actions were taken after a member of the junior varsity lacrosse team, who also was listed on the varsity roster, videotaped himself having sex with a 15-year-old girl from another school without her knowledge. The player showed the video to a group of junior varsity players March 24; the tape was viewed by members of the varsity team two days later.

"At this point in time, we think we have wrapped up the investigation, but obviously, if any new information comes forward, we're going to track it down," said Robert C. Douglass, an attorney for the Brooklandville school.

On Tuesday, Hallett canceled the nationally ranked lacrosse team's season and pulled eight players off the junior varsity squad. He also expelled the 16-year-old boy who made the sex video. All students who viewed the video were suspended for three days.

The three students were singled out for more sanctions because they provided the video camera, transported the tape or provided a venue for showing it, said a source close to the situation.

In a letter to the board of trustees, board President Daniel R. Baker and the Rev. David C. Cobb, chairman, said the St. Paul's community should offer support to the girl and her family. They urged parents and students to help students "whose judgment lapsed."

"We cannot and will not abandon them," the letter stated. "As we move forward we need to rely upon each other to maintain our moral compass and to strengthen further those core values that make us St. Paul's."

Some parents complained that Hallett's decision to cancel the lacrosse season was too harsh, but he has received letters and e-mails from many supporters.

"While the pain felt by these students is immense, they will have been taught a life lesson that I am positive will make them stronger adults and much more aware of the consequences of bad choices and peer pressure," Rick Diggs, executive director of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association, said in a letter to Hallett. "If I were the parent of a prospective student, St. Paul's would absolutely be at the top of my list."

The varsity team had a 1-1 record before the scandal, and the association decided to allow St. Paul's to keep the victory. The final record will be 1-12, Diggs said.

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