High School Sports

Anchorage police investigate alleged Dimond football hazing

The Anchorage Police Department says it has launched a criminal investigation into an alleged hazing incident involving members of the Dimond High School football team.

What exactly happened has not been made public, and police and school district investigators have refused to confirm anything beyond basic facts. But one parent told an Anchorage television station that the incident involved sexual abuse.

"Everyone needs to know it is a serious allegation," said Anchorage School District superintendent Deena Bishop.

A mother told Anchorage's KTUU Channel 2 that the alleged incident happened at Saturday's football game against Lathrop High School in Fairbanks.

The woman, who described herself as the mother of one of the victims, told KTUU that seniors on the team took "several freshman team members" individually into a room where abuse "sexual in nature" happened.

The exact nature of the abuse was not described. It's also not clear how many players were involved.

Bishop would not say whether any students have been suspended or otherwise removed from school pending the police investigation. Once there's a decision as to whether charges will be filed, the district will conduct its own policy review, she said.

Police on Tuesday would not provide any information about the reported incident.

"The Anchorage Police Department has been made aware of an incident involving the Dimond High School football team and we are investigating," Capt. Josh Nolder said in an email. "This is an active investigation and we cannot release additional information at this time."

The incident was reported to staff at Dimond High School on Monday, the first day of school.

The school and district are "cooperating fully" with police, district spokeswoman Catherine Esary said.

Because the incident is believed to have happened in Fairbanks, police there have "been in contact with APD regarding the incident" but Anchorage police are in charge, said Fairbanks Police Department spokeswoman Yumi McCulloch.

Football practice was canceled Monday and Tuesday, Esary said. The school held a meeting for football players, parents and coaches Tuesday afternoon.

It had not been decided whether the Dimond High football team would be playing its next scheduled game, against Colony High School on Friday night.

"Frankly, and I am a sports person, Dimond High playing this Friday is not high on my list of concerns," Bishop said. "I am more focused on student safety than the game of football."