Four teenage girls are facing felony charges after they forcibly removed a teammate’s underwear, exposing her genitals, on a bus ride home from a volleyball game.
On Sept. 21, the Caldwell High School students
had just played a match and were returning from Bell County, according to documents obtained by KXXV. The 14-year-old victim pleaded with her teammates to stop as they held her down on the school bus.
After removing her socks and shoes, the 17- and 18-year-old teammates pulled her pants and panties down to her mid-shin, the arrest affidavit shows.
Two of the defendants were yanking the victim’s Spandex so hard — at the same time she was struggling to keep them on — that she ended up “being pull [sic] off the seat,” according to an arrest affidavit.
A 17-year-old girl acted as a “lookout,” singing and playing music as loud as possible to cover up any noise the victim made, according to an arrest affidavit.
Back in Caldwell, when the victim’s sibling was picking her up, one of the girls walked up to the car and said, “We basically just raped your sister on the bus ride home.”
Another defendant told authorities that what happened on the bus was a "tradition" that occurs every year. And although one teen admitted that they’d been “looking for a target to rape,” her attorney later quibbled over the meaning of the word.
"My understanding is that [rape] is a code word that’s been used for years,” the attorney said, according to KXXV. “But it really means taking someone's pants down."
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, rape is defined as “unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against a person's will or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconsciousness, or deception.”
Each of the four defendants is charged with indecency with a child by exposure, a third-degree felony that can carry up to a 10-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
Four adult staff members were also seated at the front of the school bus, according to KXXV.
In a statement to 25 News, Caldwell ISD’s director of communications said the district is “committed to providing a safe environment for all students,” adding that an investigation has been launched.
Several other hazing incidents have rocked Texas in recent years.
In 2018, weeks after a TCU student was arrested for hazing
, he died in an apparent suicide, according to WFAA. He’d reportedly ordered freshman pledges to eat expired guacamole and “drink as much as 15 drinks of vodka.”
Last week, two Texas A&M University students sued a fraternity after a hazing incident left them “permanently disfigured,” according to the Austin American-Statesman
Fraternity members had poured a number of “foreign substances” on the two pledges, including raw eggs and human spit. But they were also subjected to industrial-strength cleaner
, which left them with severe burns and forced them to undergo multiple skin graft surgeries.