Prosecutors have offered the teenage defendants in the Wilson hazing case a chance to dodge the weight of the initial charges stemming from an April 17 incident on a team bus.
As reported in today's Buffalo News, the deal would allow the teens to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of forcible touching, which carries a lesser punishment than the felony sexual abuse count each had been facing.
Also as part of the offer, each would plead guilty to three counts of second-degree hazing, a violation.
Kevin P. Shelby, an attorney for one of the 16-year-olds, likened what happened on that bus to a fraternity initiation, and which also lacked any sexual overtones.
There were at least 30 people on the bus at the time of the incident, Shelby said, and the DA's office has not produced medical evidence suggesting any object, including a cell phone, was used to penetrate the body opening of anyone on the bus as alleged.
And because of that, and the fact that the deal offers no guarantee that youthful offender status will be granted, he claims his client deserves fairer treatment.
"Should conduct such as this that does not have sexual overtones, that involves initiation rights, should that impact on a 16-year-old's life for the rest of his life?" he said.
What do you think of the offer made by the DA's office?
— Aaron Besecker