SANTA ANA–Today, Former Marine Judge Advocate and candidate for District Attorney, Pete Hardin, called for additional investigation into battery, hazing and child endangerment charges and pledged to reopen the Mater Dei High School case if elected.
“The public is rightly concerned with DA Spitzer’s decision to reject police recommendations to file felony charges, and to do so without requesting further investigation,” said former Marine Judge Advocate Pete Hardin. “For a physical altercation to be considered ‘mutual combat,’ the combatants must have both participated willingly. Yet just one party escalated the altercation far beyond the ridiculous game, ‘bodies,’ causing broken facial bones and a traumatic brain injury–and only one party continued to batter the other as they stood still with blood streaming down their face. The DA’s decision not to charge the crime of hazing without any explanation also comes as a shock.
“Equally concerning to me as a parent is the lack of any investigation into Coach Bruce Rollinson for child endangerment. Rollinson admitted to being fully aware of the ongoing, violent, ritual hazing, and yet allowed it to continue. That puts every kid on this team in danger. As a parent there’s no chance I would let my son participate in a football program when the coaching staff willingly subjects the young men under their care to such an unreasonable risk of harm.
“The DA should immediately request further investigation. If he fails to do so, and if elected in June, I will review this matter to determine if charges are appropriate. Baffling decisions like these issued with virtually no explanation contribute to the crisis of faith and trust in our criminal justice and policing systems. DA Spitzer has turned the DA’s office into a black box, and that undermines effective democratic governance. We need transparency from our leaders and our public institutions.”