Police: 8 SUNY Geneseo freshman volleyball players blindfolded, handcuffed and forced to drink alcohol
Posted at: 09/07/2012 2:40 PM | Updated at: 09/07/2012 3:00 PM
Eight people – blindfolded, handcuffed and ordered to drink. That’s what Geneseo Police say happened at an underage drinking party in Geneseo. Now, 11 SUNY Geneseo students – including eight members of the women’s volleyball team -- are facing charges.
Twenty-year-old Courtney Long of Rochester, Alysia Negron, 20 from Buffalo, 21-year-old Laura Galvin of Baldwinsville, 20-year-old Alexandra Wende of Williamsville, 20-year-old Noelle Morrison of Stoneybrook, 20-year-old Julia Ganglof of Lancaster, 19-year-old Sarah Dewey of Cooperstown, 19-year-old Carissa Gagliardi of Wantagh, 19-year-old Megan Johnson of Moriches, 21-year-old Laura Rahab of East Northport and 21-year-old Megan Reed of Horseheads are facing charges of hazing and unlawfully dealing with a child. Long, Rahab and Reed are not members of the women’s volleyball team.
Geneseo Police say its investigation began on September 2 when they learned an 18-year-old SUNY Geneseo student was taken to NOYES Memorial Hospital for alcohol poisoning.
Investigators say the victim was drinking at a home on Court Street during a SUNY Geneseo women’s volleyball gathering. According to police, eight people – all freshman students under the age of 21 and members of the volleyball team -- were summoned to the home where they were blindfolded, handcuffed and forced to drink alcoholic beverages.
All 11 are due to appear in court on Tuesday, October 9 at 5:30 p.m.
SUNY Geneseo statement:
SUNY Geneseo has been informed that the Geneseo Police Department is in the process of filing charges against 11 current or former members of the intercollegiate women's volleyball team related to an alleged off-campus incident Sept. 2. The charges include first degree hazing and unlawful dealing with a child. The college has been cooperating fully with the police investigation.
Given the severity of the actions, Geneseo took immediate action to cancel the team's games and practice sessions during the police investigation, including an upcoming tournament scheduled this weekend. A decision on the team's participation in future games this season is pending. After reviewing findings of the Geneseo police investigation, the college will initiate its own internal investigation and in all likelihood pursue disciplinary action against those involved in the alleged violations of the College Code of Conduct and the college hazing policy.
Vice President for Student and Campus Life Robert Bonfiglio emphasized that the college strongly and frequently advises students on the college's strict anti-hazing and underage drinking policies.
"We take underage drinking and hazing very seriously," said Bonfiglio. "Hazing is not only a violation of college policy but is a crime under New York State law. We reinforced this with all of our students and their parents all summer long during new student and parent orientation and devoted considerable time to the topic at a recent mandatory meeting for all student-athletes. Unfortunately, as we have seen from a number of news reports already this fall, hazing is a widespread problem in higher education and students far too often fail to heed our messages about the consequences of such acts."