8/22/2014

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Seattle-area boys injured in brutal hazing incident

Seattle-area boys injured in brutal hazing incident
BOTHELL, Wash. – A group of teens were found injured in a wooded area in Bothell after an apparent school-related hazing incident on Monday night, the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office said.

About 10:40 p.m. deputies responded to the 23900 block of Carter Road after receiving a report of young men yelling in a large wooded area.

Deputies arrived to find a dozen teens who ranged in age from 16 to 18 years old, Lt. Jeff Brand said.

All the teens were current or former students of Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, Brand said. The hazing of seven juniors by five recent graduates was an initiation rite for "Naked Vikings," a group not officially sanctioned by the school, but the school allowed the group to cheer at football and basketball games.

James Walvatnee, Sr. said his son, James Walvatnee, Jr., a junior at the school, was one of the underclassmen who was brutally beaten.

Walvatnee, Sr. said his son was burned with cigarettes and cigars, had urine thrown on him and as well as eggs, and got hit with a headless golf club and PVC pipe.

"He didn't know it was that kind of brutality but he says he couldn't say anything because if he said something he couldn't be a Naked Vik," Walvatnee, Sr. said.

When police arrived they observed that some of the teens were dressed only in shorts. Others were bent over a log when deputies first found them and some of them had open wounds from being struck with switches and other items.

A few also appeared to be suffering from hypothermia so medical aid cars were called to the scene.

The young men who were injured and had hypothermia were all treated at the scene and released. The parents of the teens were also contacted by deputies and the youths eventually were released to their parents.

Police identified seven juniors at the school as the possible victims.

The teens said they did not want to cooperate in a police investigation. Five 18-year-old adults were also identified as potential suspects but have not been charged with any crimes at this time.

Duff DeWitt who helped create the Naked Vikings back in 1995 said that hazing has never been a part of the initiation into the group.

"It was literally just a way for us to have a really good time," he said.

A spokesperson with the Northshore School Districts said Naked Vikings are now banned.

In a statement the district said: "We are deeply disturbed by the actions of these few individuals- - our thoughts are with the students who were injured and their families."

"They deserve to be punished--this is not okay--this is criminal," Walvatnee, Sr. said.

The Sheriff's Office said it will follow up and determine if a request for charges can or should be forwarded to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office.
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