GATLINBURG, Tenn. – Three Tennessee high school basketball players have been charged with aggravated rape and assault in what was reported to be the hazing of a freshman teammate.
Gatlinburg Police said in a statement that the players from Ooltewah High School in Hamilton County were charged Monday in the incident, which occurred last week at a rental cabin.
The statement said staff at LeConte Medical Center in Servierville called officers Dec. 23 after a young man who had been assaulted was brought there by his basketball coach.
The victim was sent to University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, where he underwent surgery due to his extensive injuries, the statement said.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that a family member of the 15-year-old victim claimed that the teen did not receive a proper examination at the hospital in Sevierville and collapsed shortly after he was released.
"He had to undergo emergency surgery [in Knoxville], as his colon and bladder were ruptured," the unnamed relative told the paper. "He is still in the hospital recovering at this time."
The paper quoted the relative as claiming the victim was beaten by his teammates and sodomized with a pool cue.
The relative said the victim "is expected to recover within 2-3 months. However, he is having nightmares. He has stated that he thought that he was going to die as a result of the assault. In addition, once he is finally discharged he has to wear a catheter and colostomy bag for at least two weeks or longer."
Ooltewah High School Athletic Director Jesse Nayadley told the Times Free Press that the three older players involved in the apparent hazing incident have been dismissed from the team.
"We can't give names because they're under 18 years of age, and since we're out of school for the holidays we haven't met yet to determine how they will be punished at school. But as far as athletically, those three young men are no longer a part of the Ooltewah basketball team," he said.
Police said the teammates have been charged as juveniles. Their names weren't released.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.