GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- An outside investigator has been hired to look into allegations that Great Falls High faculty knew about hazing in the football locker room but failed to stop it.
Assistant superintendent Tom Moore said his office will work with the investigator, but he declined to comment further.
Senior offensive lineman Alex Botina-Roehm, 18, is charged with rape and two counts of sexual assault after two teammates reported Roehm came up behind them in the showers, put his arm between their legs, wrapped his other arm around them and picked them up.
A parent of one of the boys told a school counselor about the alleged assaults on Sept. 14. The accusations weren't reported to law enforcement officers until Nov. 10, when the grandmother of one of the victims called police. They referred her to the high school's resource officer, Detective Cory Reeves.
Roehm was arrested Monday. His bail was set at $25,000 during an initial appearance Tuesday in District Court. He was suspended from school.
Detective Bruce McDermott said Wednesday police believe other football players likely participated in the same activity, called "power gobbling," but in those cases it was done among friends and considered consensual.
This case was different because the alleged victim didn't know the offender, McDermott told the Great Falls Tribune (http://bit.ly/uZmikZ ). "I guess that's where it departed from fun among friends," he said.
McDermott said it takes a lot of courage for students to stand up against their classmates' actions and the fact that school officials didn't report it to law enforcement does little to encourage other students to report hazing.
"If anything, it violates the kids' trust in the process," McDermott said. "Maybe there just weren't the proper checks and balances in place."
An affidavit supporting the charges against Roehm states: "This has reportedly been going on for some time in the locker room, and Roehm and others seem to act freely without consequences."
The Tribune reports the grandmother provided the newspaper with an email exchange between the school counselor and an associate principal in September that said the football coach would have a "come-to-Jesus" talk with the players.
It is not known if the counselor reported the allegations to district administrators.