You all know how much I love my volleyball crime stories. Well, here's one about which I am not entirely sure how to feel. On this Thanksgiving, I thought I would tell the story of some potential volleyball criminals that have a lot to be thankful for this holiday weekend.
I haven't mentioned it before, but I have been following the story of the SUNY Geneseo women's volleyball team that was charged with hazing and unlawful dealing with a child. The 11 women charged in this case are accused of blindfolding and handcuffing their underage teammates at an off campus party and forcing alcohol down their throats.
OK, some might say they're young and stupid. They just went a little over the line with the initiation to the team. I might be able to buy that except that according to one of the victims, the story gets much worse. Not only did they overdo the amount of alcohol that the young players were forced to drink. That action is terrible in itself but happens on campuses all over the country. What angers me the most is that they didn't care about what happened to these girls next. One of the victims says she fell and hit her head on a table, chipping a tooth. They continued pouring alcohol down her throat. When they were finished, this victim got up and says she made it about three steps before she passed out on the grass. Did her teammates help her up and see if she was OK? Did they determine whether she needed to make a visit to the hospital? Heck, did they get her safely home and put her to bed? The answer to all of these questions is no. The victim says she passed out on the lawn in a pool of her own vomit. Her teammates allegedly left her there and went to a bar. To knowingly leave a teammate in that condition without any concern for her welfare? That is downright unforgivable. The young woman was found by some students, taken to the hospital and tests showed she had a .266 blood alcohol level. She survived, but this incident could have ended much differently.
After it happened back on September 13th, the school decided to cancel the remainder of the volleyball season. So I guess that is a little bit of punishment. But just last week, a judge gave these ladies an early Christmas gift by honoring the District Attorney's plea for lenience.
The D.A. believed that it is more important that these girls learn something and pass it on. Instead of jail time, the women will have to do two weekends of community service and two speaking engagements at high schools warning younger people of the dangers of actions such as theirs.
The judge's statement seems to reveal that he did this reluctantly due to the D.A.'s request. His quotes in his summation say that he wasn't on board with the decision, especially with a few of the more culpable women. But he did it anyway, in a time when injuries and deaths from hazing have started to get very serious. Crackdowns abound at college campuses all over the country and hazers are starting to receive real punishments.
Two weekends of community service and two speeches is a punishment that doesn't seem to fit the crime. These girls could very well have killed some of their own teammates with their actions. They were let off. It's certainly not the first time a guilty party has escaped real punishment. I'm just not sure that this result teaches them anything or for that matter deters anyone else from doing the same. But a team full of women will get a second chance even though they may not deserve it. I sincerely hope that they learn something from all this as the D.A. thinks they will. On this holiday weekend, they should be really, really thankful.
So what do you think? Was justice served in this case? Let me know what you think by weighing in on the poll.