Friday, December 26, 2014

No charges for Phillipsburg High School wrestlers over lynching photo

Prosecutors say no charges will be filed against eight student wrestlers at a New Jersey high school who posed for a photograph depicting the apparent lynching of a practice dummy.

The photo of the Phillipsburg High School wrestling team members -- showing the students with the dummy, which was wearing a Paulsboro wrestling t-shirt -- went viral in February.

The Warren County Prosecutor's Office said its review found that no criminal acts occurred.

"Based upon the evidence obtained and the concurrence of the Attorney General's Office after reviewing the investigative file, no criminal charges will be filed at this time," Richard Burke, the county prosecutor, said in a statement.

Prosecutors say the matter was referred to Phillipsburg High School for any administrative action.

The photo showed the male students, most of whom were wearing Phillipsburg athletics clothing, surrounding the black, hanged dummy. Two of the students had their hoods pointed.

Phillipsburg and Paulsboro are wrestling powerhouses and rivals.

Officials removed the wrestlers in the photo from the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association State Wrestling in the wake of the photo's discovery.

Through their attorney, the students have said they were sorry for the incident, and the pose wasn't premeditated. 


Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

Emily Babay Philly.com
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