It came without warning.
It would start with a howling noise from a senior football player at Sayreville War Memorial High School, and then the locker room lights were abruptly shut off.
In the darkness, a freshman football player would be pinned to the locker room floor, his arms and feet held down by multiple upperclassmen. Then, the victim would be lifted to his feet while a finger was forced into his rectum. Sometimes, the same finger was then shoved into the freshman player’s mouth.
This disturbing hazing within the storied Sayreville football program, as told to NJ Advance Media on Wednesday by the parent of a player in the program, happened almost every day in the locker room this fall, he said.
The allegations — revealed for the first time — provide details to the events that sparked a criminal investigation by local and county police, and prompted the cancellationof the remainder of the Sayreville football season this week by Superintendent of Schools Richard Labbe.
The parent, informed by his son and other parents close to the investigation, is the first to come forward to reveal the hazing practices Labbe has characterized as “incidences of harassment, intimidation and bullying as constituted by the definition within the anti-bullying statute that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level, and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated, and in general accepted.”
According to the parent, whose identity is being protected because the parent feared retribution against the family and the player, the routine was initiated when an upperclassman would enter the locker room and make a wolf call or howling noise.
“[For] 10 seconds, the lights would go off and they would grab a freshman and they would go on,” the parent said. “Right on the floor. … It was happening every day. They would get the freshmen.”
He added: “Kids would just sit around and witness [stuff] like this.”
Detectives from the Middlesex County Prosecutors Office and the Sayreville Police Department are investigating the allegations, but officials have refused to reveal any specifics about the case. The parent said his son and several other Sayreville players have been questioned by police. No charges have been filed. The parent also said he is in the process of retaining an attorney.
“These parents here, they’re in shock,” the parent said. “We never expected anything like this to happen. Your kid, he’s going to school, school’s got to be a place where you think the kid is the safest.”
When told of the specific allegations over the phone Wednesday, Labbe declined to comment. He referred to his previous comments calling the allegations “very serious.”
The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office declined comment on the allegations detailed by the Sayreville parent. Also, David Abromaitis, a detective in the office, declined comment Wednesday when reached by phone.
The parent said the “ringleaders” involved in the hazing are seniors.
Madeline Thillet, speaking at Tuesday night’s board of education meeting, said her son was one of the members of the team interviewed by investigators. She downplayed the hazing while protesting the cancellation of the season.
“I was at the police station with him when they were questioning him,” she said. “They were talking about a butt being grabbed. That’s about it. No one was hurt. No one died. I don’t understand why they’re being punished. I think that the forfeited game was punishment enough.”
The parent said he could not “understand how none of the coaches were aware of it. As a coach, you know what’s going on in your clubhouse. You know what’s going on in the locker room.”
On Oct. 1, Labbe said he was alerted to an anonymous allegation made to Sayreville police about a serious incident of inappropriate conduct —possibly more — by members of the football team. The next day, the matter was turned over to the Middlesex County prosecutor and Labbe canceled Sayreville’s football games — varsity, junior varsity and freshman contests — last weekend against rival South Brunswick.
Then, on Friday, in a separate incident, an attorney for assistant coach Charles Garcia said his client had resigned after details of his arrest for steroids possessionsurfaced.
On Monday, Labbe announced he was canceling the rest of the season.
The hazing allegations have turned Sayreville’s no frills, blue-collar community upside-down, as both local and national news vans and media reporters have descended on the town, scouring the streets and interviewing people in parking lots and strip malls.
Many Sayreville residents have expressed outrage over the cancellation of the football season. The varsity team, nicknamed the Bombers, has made the playoffs in each of the past 20 seasons, and Sayreville has captured three state championships over the past four years, feeding nearby Rutgers University with a host of elite players.
Sayreville longtime football coach George Najjar declined comment when reached by phone Wednesday.
More than a hundred Sayreville residents attended Tuesday night’s previously scheduled board of education meeting to urge the members to reconsider the decision to cancel the season. The crowd, at times, grew heated and animated, but the board affirmed the decision to end the football season.
Afterward, about a hundred people gathered under the lights on the football field, lingering for about 15 minutes, gazing across the impressive stadium, until it was time to go home.
Vernal Coleman and Sue Epstein of NJ Advance Media contributed to this report.
Matthew Stanmyre may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow him on Twitter @MattStanmyre. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
4 thoughts on “Sayreville football parent reveals sexual nature of alleged locker room hazing ritual”
Labbe did the right thing…. GOOD FOR HIM…..
CANCELing their season MIGHT make those idiots THINK before
abusing others in the future……One can only hope.
Football…. for cripe sake…. its a game,
games are suppose to be for enjoyment, NOT TORTURE
My Fellow Americans:
This is near where I live.
I did NOT grow up in this pyschologically stunted, retarded, inbred town of low-brow surban hillbillies,… and had I known how corrupt the politics, police and courts are here,.. I never would have! (nor would any rational,… self respecting,.. honest person.)
As it is,… notice how the parents are, “outraged!” that their mindless activities have been inturrupted by suspending playing for the season!!! (…why,… Why!,.. HOW DARE THEY!!!!),… and how these same low grade morons couldn’t care less that a completely criminal cartel is in charge of this country,.. and is getting ready to slaugther them,.. their kids, families and friends.
Yes my fellow Americans,.. Sayerville,… the town that now has TWO claims to fame!,… Bon Jovi (he went to Sayerville Highschool),…. and a football team where the seniors jam their fingers in the assholes of younger kids,… and then somethimes make them taste it.
Sayerville – the very definition of inbreed,…. surburban hillbillies,.. the whole lot of them.
JD – US Marines – Sayerville is not an exception to what is wrong with this country,… they are helping to blaze the trail to depravity and perdition.
This is very sick. These people will be our future leaders, I hope not. This country has become a pool of sick people. The parents of these students should be made to publish the students names, address and phone numbers. These students should then be expelled from school for a year and never play sports again. This is another reason why football should be banned.