Three high school basketball players from Tennessee have been charged with raping and assaulting a teammate while staying in a rental cabin for a tournament, officials said late Tuesday.
The male victim was hospitalized and had to undergo surgery "due to the extent of his injuries" after the Dec. 23 incident, according to local police.
The three suspects and the victim were all juveniles from Ooltewah High School, in Ooltewah, Tennessee. Their basketball team was in Gatlinburg, around 100 miles to the northeast, for a tournament, Gatlinburg Police Department said in a statement.
The Chattanoogan newspaper quoted an anonymous family member saying the victim was a freshman who was subjected to a hazing using a wooden pool cue, although this could not be independently confirmed by NBC News.
He was taken to a local hospital by one of his coaches and later transferred to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, 30 miles away in Knoxville, for surgery, police said. He was released after an eight-day stay, according to NBC station WRCB.
Juvenile petitions — equivalent to charges — for aggravated rape and aggravated assault were served on the three suspects at the County Juvenile Detention Facility on Monday. They were dismissed from the basketball team and a bond hearing was set for Wednesday, WRCB reported.
Ooltewah High School's athletic director did not immediately respond to requests for comment from NBC News.