Sun, Jan. 26

County attorney to decide criminal charges on Mingus hazing

COTTONWOOD – The March 6 sexual-related hazing that resulted in 180-day suspensions for two Mingus Union varsity baseball players has been forwarded to the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office for a determination on whether criminal charges will be filed.

Monica Kuhlt, professional standards sergeant for the Cottonwood Police Department, said Monday morning that Cottonwood police investigators have concluded their investigation into the hazing of three student athletes.

“The case is being sent to the Yavapai County Attorney's Office for review of criminal charges,” said Kuhlt.

Last week, the Mingus Union School Board voted to have the two 18-year-old student athletes suspended for 180 days. The students are not allowed to take classes at MUHS, the school’s academy or the school’s online program. They are not permitted on district property or at on- or off-district functions, such as sporting events, prom or graduation.

The police investigation came at the request of the MUHS administration.

MUHS Superintendent Penny Hargrove said there were five adults on the bus during the incident, including the bus driver.

Since the incident, “protocol has been put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Hargrove also said.

Those protocols include a requirement that adults be “distributed in the front, the back and the middle of the bus for better eye-to-eye contact of the kids,” Hargrove said.

Hargrove also said that though students can listen to music on the bus, that they must use earphones.

“If an adult can hear it, the music must be turned down or turned off,” Hargrove said.

In addition to the sworn statements given during last week’s hearing, school board members and sworn witnesses watched video evidence of the incident gathered from a school bus surveillance system.

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