The Somerville public school system is conducting a review of travel policies in light of criminal charges against three students that include an alleged rape during an athletics overnight team-building trip to Western Massachusetts.
A Student Travel Safety Committee that will include students, school staff and outside experts is being formed to review the current school policies and procedures and recommend changes, according to an announcement from Mayor Joseph Curtatone and Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi.
Three upperclassmen boys soccer players went into a cabin occupied by freshmen at Camp Lenox in Otis, allegedly forced one underclassmen to his knees and raped him with a broomstick, prosecutors said in an arraignment Tuesday. Two other freshmen were poked with the broom, but were able to fight off the attacks,
Somerville officials previously said the alleged assaults occurred “yards, if not feet away” from volunteer adult counselors who traveled from Somerville for the annual camp.
As Somerville schools opened for their first day Wednesday, school officials gave students trauma resource information and offered counseling to students and staff. Community education sessions and discussion groups were being planned, according to the mayor's statement.
"As our community grapples with the charges facing three Somerville High School students that include aggravated rape and assault with intent to rape, we remain focused on the most important action we can take at this time, which is providing the support and services needed for the victims, students and community to heal," the statement said.
Authorities learned of the alleged assault last Tuesday. The three suspects, including two, unidentified 16-year-olds and 17-year-old Galileo Mondol, were arrested Friday. Mondol pleaded not guilty Monday to one count of aggravated rape of a child under the age of 16, two counts of assault with intent to rape a child under 16, one count of indecent assault and battery, three counts of assault and battery, and three counts of witness intimidation.