The El Paso Montwood baseball team forfeited its area-round Class 6A baseball series against Midland Lee this weekend after four sophomores were struck with a leather whip during a hazing incident.
The incident occurred in Artesia, where the two teams were set to compete at Brainard Park, a neutral, halfway point.
The Artesia Police Department was called to the Hampton Inn, at which Montwood’s team was staying, at 9:42 a.m. Saturday and made contact with a Montwood coach, who informed officers the hazing had occurred the night before.
The APD learned the team’s seven upperclassmen had used a leather whip to take turns giving “whippings” to the four sophomores. The sophomores stated they were each struck twice on the buttocks and had no welts or bruising as a result of the whippings.
Montwood head coach Guillermo Romo told the APD disciplinary actions were being handled by the school and were already in motion, and five of the seven upperclassmen had already been taken home by their parents prior to the APD’s arrival.
The APD took no further action, as the sophomores and their parents declined to press charges.
“APD does not condone the behavior in the police report, but given a difficult situation, officers use their discretion accordingly, considering in all of the factors surrounding the issue,” said APD Cmdr. Lindell Smith. “Mistakes were made by people that have the rest of their lives in front of them. I am sure there is more than one of the kids involved that wishes things had gone a little differently, and now it is up to the parents and school officials to handle the issue.”
In a statement, Socorro Independent School District Chief Communication Officer Daniel Escobar said, “The Montwood High School baseball team forfeited its games today in the Texas 6A playoffs. The decision was made after reports of player misconduct were received and investigated. The coaching staff and administration continue their investigation into the reports at this time.”