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Five boys charged with hazing, sexual assault in Richland County

COLFAX, N.D.—Five boys are facing a slew of charges in connection with reports of sexual misconduct at the junior and senior high schools in the Richland 44 School District.

Collectively, the five boys are charged with 13 misdemeanor counts of hazing, 11 misdemeanor counts of sexual assault, nine felony counts of felonious restraint and one felony count of terrorizing, the Richland County Sheriff's office said Thursday, Feb. 15, in a news release.

The five boys were referred to juvenile court. Because they are minors, no further details will be released regarding their cases, the sheriff's office said.

Interviews by investigators revealed information about alleged offenses that occurred in the boys locker room. The victims were all boys and were in varying grades, the sheriff's office said.

Investigators learned that some offenses occurred in Bismarck. That information was sent to the Bismarck Police Department.

Bismarck Sgt. Mark Buschena said his staff received a report Thursday indicating that a sexual assault involving juveniles took place in Bismarck on an undisclosed date. Buschena said his department will be conducting its own investigation, but he did not have further information to release.

The Richland County Sheriff's office and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation are continuing to investigate the case, the sheriff's office said.

The Richland 44 School District launched its own investigation last month after parents' complaints surfaced about older boys bullying, hazing and sexually assaulting younger male students. Along with the sheriff's office and school district investigations, the school board decided this week to begin a third, independent investigation.

Kim Hyatt

Kim Hyatt is a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and a 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth. She started her newspaper career at the Owatonna People’s Press covering arts and education. In 2016, she received Minnesota Newspaper Association's Dave Pyle New Journalist Award and later that year she joined The Forum newsroom.

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