A teenage boy was burned with a hot iron during a hazing incident at a Burlington County motel where he and his alleged attackers stayed during a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps competition last year, authorities said Wednesday.
The two teenage defendants, who were not publicly named because of their ages, and the victim were students at Francis Lewis High School in Queens, New York City, and were on an overnight trip to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst for a JROTC event last April, said Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina.
There were four victims altogether, Coffina said. The one boy was burned on his buttocks with a hot iron in addition to suffering other unspecified abuse April 20 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Westampton Township. Three other boys also were mistreated and forced to engage in humiliating conduct, Coffina said.
“This conduct is nothing more than assault and bullying, which we will prosecute,” Coffina said.
One defendant was charged with aggravated assault and related offenses. The other was charged with aggravated sexual assault and related offenses. Both were 16 when the alleged crimes occurred.
The New York Post reported in November that the victim, who was a 15-year-old freshman at the time of the incident, wrote in a statement to school officials that he was burned three times with a hot iron by an older teen who claimed “it was tradition, and I should be grateful, because it has been a lot worse in the past.”
The defendant with the iron allegedly recorded the assault on video, which was later circulated by other members of the JROTC squad known as the Raiders.
The boy wrote that another student applied lotion on his buttocks and then tried to stick a finger in his anus, the Post reported. The boy also was forced to masturbate and remove a piece of candy from between the buttocks of a teen by using his mouth.
He did not tell his parents about what happened until June, when he became concerned about the condition of his injuries, his mother said in an affidavit.