Wheaton College administration has said it is "deeply troubled" as five football players from the Christian school face felony charges for allegedly assaulting another student last year.
ABC News reports that yesterday, a DuPage County judge signed arrest warrants and set $50,000 bonds against the players, identified as James Cooksey, Kyler Kregel, Benjamin Pettway, Noah Spielman and Samuel TeBos.
Prosecutors charged the athletes with aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint. So far, two of the five football players have turned themselves in to police.
The charges stem from an incident that happened in March 2016, during which the alleged victim claims he was taken forcefully out of his dorm room, restrained against his will and left at a baseball field.
The victim told investigators his attackers duct-taped his hands and feet, put a pillowcase on his head, threw him in a car, attempted to sodomize him with an object, took his phone and dumped him half-naked in an off-campus park. The freshman, who had just transferred to the college, did not know where he was or how to get back to campus, according to reports.
The student, who suffered torn muscles in both shoulders which required surgery, subsequently left the evangelical Christian school and now attends college in Indiana.
"This has had a devastating effect on my life," he told the Chicago Tribune. "What was done to me should never occur in connection with a football program or any other activity. ... I am confident that the criminal prosecution will provide a fair and just punishment to the men who attacked me."
In a statement, Wheaton College said that it is "deeply troubled by the allegations brought by law enforcement against five members of our football team."
"When this incident was brought to our attention by other members of the football team and coaching staff in March 2016, the College took swift action to initiate a thorough investigation," Wheaton College said. "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.
"The conduct we discovered as a result of our investigation into this incident was entirely unacceptable," the school said.
The college said that its anti-hazing policy and training protocols were revised in 2014 "to include a formal review of our anti-hazing policy with all student-athletes every year, with required student signatures."
"This incident has prompted our Board of Trustees to engage outside experts to lead a campus-wide review of the level of effectiveness of our anti-hazing policy and of the culture around how students treat one another in our campus communities, athletic teams, and organizations. Wheaton remains committed to providing Christ-centered development programs and training to all our students," the school said.
"Despite these deeply troubling charges, we have experienced positive changes on campus, including rapid responses from campus leaders to reports of hazing or other inappropriate behavior and effective disciplinary review."