NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — More than a month after hazing allegations on the North Smithfield High School football team surfaced, no witnesses have come forward.
Credible reports indicated the older team members hazed younger current or prospective team members by engaging in physical contact “in the buttocks and other sensitive areas,” the office of Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha said Tuesday.
The alleged events occurred in spring 2022 when no adults were present. The AG’s office said it’s concerned with the safety of team members and prospective players when no adults are around.
The AG’s office said police interviewed more than 30 adults and children after the allegations came to light, and no current or prospective team members reported inappropriate or criminal physical contact.
The investigation remains open and it is unclear at this time if the hazing events warrant criminal charges, although they are “plainly inappropriate,” Neronha said.
Whether the conduct is criminal or if charges will be brought will depend on witnesses coming forward to describe the physical contact in detail and make a criminal complaint.
To date, no complaints have been filed with the police or the AG’s office.
In June, team members were barred from participating in practices, workouts and games pending a school district investigation, according to Superintendent Michael St. Jean.
In a letter sent to players’ parents, St. Jean said the district had learned of potential hazing involving team members, but he did not describe the nature of the incidents.
On Monday, St. Jean announced football practice would resume with “added layers of student-athlete conduct expectations and enhanced monitoring by adults.”
The AG’s office asked anyone with information to reach out to them at (401) 274-4400 or North Smithfield police at (401) 762-1212.