An investigation is ongoing following an Erie High School athlete’s accusations of hazing and bullying in the wrestling program. Superintendent Brad Cox confirmed that an internal investigation is ongoing. An emergency session of the school board of education was held Wednesday to address the allegations.

Mitchell Mallary, a senior at the school, alleges that there is a tradition of bullying and hazing in the wrestling program. He said that fellow wrestlers would engage in hazing techniques such as urinating on teammates, putting genitalia in teammates faces and sexual grinding. The coaches were not only complicit in these acts, Mallary said, they encouraged it and occasionally participated.

Cox declined to comment on topics pertaining to specific students or personnel, but did say that the accusations would be closely examined to determine their merit.

“We take all allegations with respect to student safety very seriously,” he said.

Clinton Herald news partner WQAD reports that several community members attended the emergency board meeting. Most of those present supported the coaches accused.

“None of us have ever seen anything inappropriate occur in that wrestling room by a coach or a student,” said Shelley Deshane, a parent of one of the members of the wrestling team.

Mallary was removed from the wrestling team in December for “gross disrespect” of wrestling coaches according to WQAD, but was reinstated Wednesday. Cox did not say why Mallary was allowed to return to the team.

WQAD reports that the Whiteside County Sheriff’s department has been notified. A call to the department for more information was not returned by press time.

It is the policy of the Clinton Herald to not identify potential victims of assault. However, as Mallary has publicly commented on his allegations, including to other news media, the Herald has decided to include his name.

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