Kentucky police seek criminal charge against high school football player in hazing case


After investigating allegations of hazing on the Henderson County High School football team, local police are asking that the county attorney criminally charge one player, a police spokesman said.

Henderson Police Lt. Stuart O’Nan said a hazing incident allegedly occurred on the morning of Jan. 20 and “we are working it.”

He said a report had been sent to the Henderson County Attorney’s office and that all players involved were juveniles.

“Only one we are going to be seeking charges on,” he said. That player is accused of hazing another, he said.

The hazing was “physical in nature,” said O’Nan, but there were no injuries involved.

Henderson County Attorney Steve Gold said in an e-mail Thursday night that juvenile cases are confidential.

But Gold said, “Hazing is simply unacceptable. I am hopeful that the legislature will quickly pass ‘Lofton’s Law’ to criminalize hazing, which is a needed tool in the effort to stamp it out”

“All kids deserve to be able to participate in activities with dignity and without fear,” he said. “My office will continue to work closely with law enforcement to hold anyone involved in hazing accountable in every way the juvenile code will allow.”

Gold said Kentucky does not currently have a specific hazing-related criminal charge.

Senate Bill 9, or “Lofton’s Law,” is named after UK student Lofton Hazelwood from Henderson who died in 2021 in an alleged hazing incident. The bill would establish both first- and second- degree hazing as independent crimes in Kentucky, he said. First-degree hazing would be a felony under the bill.

Hazing would be defined in part as an action which endangers the mental or physical health of a minor or student for the purpose of recruitment or initiation into an organization.

That bill is sponsored by Sen. Robby Mills, R-Henderson, and has been sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Henderson County Schools’ officials provided few specifics about the incident Thursday.

“We are aware of an incident with certain members of the Henderson County High School football team. The matter has been investigated in accordance with District policy. No further information will be released at this time,” Megan Mortis, director of public information for Henderson County Schools, said in an email.