Four Industrial ISD baseball players were charged for hurting a teammate, leaving him “traumatized,” according to an attorney.
Attorney Susan Soto said that what happened on an Industrial ISD school bus in April continues to haunt a student.
“This has been a very traumatic experience not only for the victim but for the victim’s family,” Soto said.
Three months ago, following an Industrial High School baseball game, prosecutors say a teammate was injured by four fellow baseball players. The incident was caught on camera.
The victim’s attorney said the players were suspended but allowed to continue playing baseball.
“What I observed, not only from the lens as a former educator but as an attorney and quite frankly as a human being, goes way beyond horseplay or hazing,” Soto explained.
These four students were charged a couple of weeks ago: Zachery Kuchler, Christopher McCrory, Braxton Warren, and Cullen Stumfoll face an engaging in organized criminal activity felony charge.
Their attorney, Brent Dornburg, can’t believe it.
“The civil attorney thinks there’s some type of horrendous assault that happened,” Dornburg said. “I would disagree wholeheartedly with that. My opinion, which is Brent’s opinion, is what it is, horseplay.”
Neither attorney would say how the victim was injured. We tried to get answers from the district attorney’s office, but it declined.
We also went to the superintendent’s office. He refused to meet with us.
We wanted to know if the incident was reported to the state education officials and why the students were allowed to play baseball again. The agency did provide the following statement:
“In Industrial ISD, student safety and wellbeing is a top priority. We strive to prevent incidents from happening and ensure that we are responsive to incidents when they do occur.
In regards to the incident that occurred on April 27, 2023, with the Industrial ISD Varsity Baseball team, the Baseball coaches notified administration immediately upon discovering that the incident occurred.
Once our administration was made aware, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was notified by them on April 27, 2023. The JCSO was present and involved throughout the district’s investigation into the incident. While Industrial ISD doesn’t comment on individual student discipline, through the investigation and based on information provided by the JCSO, school consequences were assessed.”
The legal woes may not only be in criminal court. The victim’s family has filed two civil complaints and is considering a lawsuit.
“In my opinion, at this time, the only thing that got injured at all is somebody’s feelings, and we’re dealing with some overzealous parents who are already looking to file lawsuits and publicize this, and it’s just not that big of a deal to me,” Dornburg said.
The victim’s attorney, though, said it is a big deal, and the district and students should be held accountable.
“I cannot believe that was allowed to happen, and quite frankly, I would characterize that as poor judgment on the adult’s part,” Soto said.
The bus incident has led the victim to change schools. The suspects return to the Jackson County courthouse on Aug. 15 at 9 a.m.