Pennsylvania High School Soccer Players Suspended For Duct-Taping Autistic Teammate To Pole

Two high school soccer players and their coach are facing criminal charges after the players duct-taped an autistic teammate to a pole in an alleged hazing incident, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette is reporting.

Sixteen-year-old Austin Babinsack, who has autism, was duct-taped to a pole for over 20 minutes Sunday evening, before a passerby heard his screams and came to his aid and alerted police. Police reviewed the school's surveillance video, according to Trib Total Media, and determined that more players were also planning on wrapping the autistic boy in duct tape.

Austin's mother, Kristie Babinsack, said she received a call from police Sunday night saying that Austin was "bawling" and "shaking."

"Austin doesn't understand this. It could be months before he processes this."

Austin himself described the duct-taping incident via CBS Pittsburgh.

"They duct taped my hands, my legs, all the way up to my waist, and then they attempted to try to take a picture of it. I told them now, and they walked off disappointed... I was really shaken, I thought I was gonna be stuck there for a long time."

Austin loves soccer, according to his mother, and despite his autism, was proud to have made the team, she told WPXI.

"There's a sweat suit they all have with their name and numbers. He wears that to bed. He wears it every weekend."

Despite the duct-taping incident, Austin still attended the team's game Monday. There, according to his mother, his fellow players turned on him, calling him a "snitch." It was then that Austin decided to quit the soccer team.

Police have arrested two 17-year-old students, and they, along with their coach, have been suspended. The Highlands School District issued a statement in response to the alleged hazing incident of the autistic boy.

"Highlands School District does not take matters such as hazing or bullying lightly. The district issues strict disciplinary action on students who think these actions are appropriate or harmless."

"Hazing," often associated with college fraternities and sororities, is the practice of doing painful or humiliating things to members of a group as part of their initiation. Colleges, universities, and even high schools and middle schools are cracking down on the practice, which has sometimes led to severe injuries and even deaths. The practice was so bad at one New Jersey school's football program, according to this Inquisitr report, that the school made the decision to cancel the entire football season.

Do you believe that the coaches and players involved in this duct-taping hazing incident should face criminal charges? Let us know what you think in the comments.

[Image courtesy of: The Heritage Pioneer]