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Three arrested for alleged hazing incident at Bronx High School of Science

March 5, 2013 6:52:40 PM PST
The New York City Department of Education has suspended Bronx High School of Science Athletic Director Marion Deitrich and two track coaches as the investigation into the hazing scandal continues.

Three students from Bronx High School of Science were arrested for an alleged hazing incident on the track team on February 27th.

It's hazing that's sexual in nature.

The allegations against these three Bronx Science teens are disturbing.

But the parents of one of the accused tell Eyewitness News the charges are baseless and that their son is innocent.

"Our son is not capable of doing such a thing," said Jan Berksmans, the defendant's father, "He's a bright kid. He's a smart kid."

Bronx Science Junior Pier Berksmans is a track star, a standout in the classroom, and now a teen facing felony charges for allegedly hazing his teammate.

But his parents say the allegations are false no one has presented evidence against their son.

"He's devastated and does not understand what's going on because when he heard that he said, 'What? This must be a joke,'" Jan Berksmans said.

"It's very shocking to hear this on the news because the whole thing was being presented as if it were something proven, or at least something that has some grounds behind it, and it doesn't," said Katrina Berksmans," said Katrina Berksmans, the defendant's mother.

16-year-olds Thomas Brady and Boubacar Diallo and 17-year-old Pier Berksmans are all on the track team and are being charged with forcible touching, assault, hazing and harassment.

In a criminal complaint, the victim who's a freshman on the track team claims on several occasions he was held down and assaulted in his private area.

He says his track mates even threatened to rape him.

In a letter sent home to parents, Bronx Science Principal Valerie Reidy wrote, "We do not know the magnitude or severity of the incident(s) and who is specifically involved. We are interviewing all team members in an attempt to understand exactly what happened."

"It's not really common that these types of things happen. It's very unusual," a student said.

The allegations are a black eye for the prestigious Bronx High School of Science whose graduates go on to top universities and colleges.

"What are the kids on the track team saying," Eyewitness News asked.

"They think everyone's overreacting really. They don't think what's being accused is really happening," the student said.

All three teens have pleaded not guilty and have been released.

They're due back in court on Friday.

The Department of Education released the following statement.
"An allegation was brought to the attention of Bronx High School of Science last Wednesday and three students were arrested. The matter is under investigation."

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