Fifth Warren De La Salle student charged in alleged hazing
Warren — A fifth Warren De La Salle Collegiate High School student linked to an alleged locker room hazing incident was charged Tuesday with assault and battery.
Cleveland Harville III, 18, of Harper Woods appeared in a video arraignment in 37th District Court before Judge Matthew P. Sabaugh, who entered a not-guilty plea and set a personal bond for Harville with conditions including no contact with alleged victims or out of state travel.
The offense stems from an alleged Oct. 14 locker room incident involving other members of the varsity football team at the all-boys Catholic school. Charged Monday were Michael Anthony Young, 18, and Galiko Tyreese Lovelace, 17, both of Sterling Heights; Sean Vanard Bonery, 18, of Warren and Rick Dwayne Pearson, 18, of Eastpointe. All received personal bonds from Sabaugh, pending a preliminary examination date still to be determined.
“I’m confident that within 30 days my client will be vindicated and the charges dismissed,” said Greg Rohl, Harville’s attorney. “He doesn’t know anything about any assault and there is a question if he was even attending the school at the time. He has been home-schooled for several months.”
Rohl described Harville as a good student with no prior criminal problems. He said he shared concerns of attorneys for the other four defendants that they might have been targeted because all are African-Americans at a school predominantly attended by white students. Two other students, also African American, were 16 at the time and will be processed as juveniles in the case.
Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer disputed any statements that race has ever been a factor in the charges. He said two victims and their parents contacted police a few weeks ago when it was announced the investigation into allegations had been stalled by uncooperative students, parents and school officials.
“We investigated and acted upon statements made by the alleged victims – one of whom is black,” said Dwyer. “We can only work with the information we are provided by witnesses.”
Dwyer said the alleged incident, which occurred the night before a football game, reportedly involved victims being held down by teammates and touched with a broomstick handle.
"The team has a ritual in which they have dinner the night before at which time the .hazing occurs," said Dwyer, who could not explain what prompted the reported incident.
Dwyer and St. Clair County Prosecutor Michael Wendling both lamented the school’s slow response in reporting the alleged incident to police, instead doing its own investigation first. Wendling said the delay was critical and that school officials have also been uncooperative in providing documents to investigators.
If convicted, the five defendants could each face up to 93 days in jail.