Six juveniles charged in incident on bus

WOODSTOCK – Six boys from Strasburg High School were served Thursday with juvenile petitions charging them with assault or battery by a mob in connection with an incident on a basketball team bus in mid December.

The petitions were served on three 16-year-old students and three 17-year-old students, all Strasburg area residents, who were traveling on a bus carrying members of the junior varsity and varsity boys’ basketball teams.

The petitions were served after the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation Jan. 12. The case was triggered when school system officials received a report on Jan. 11 and passed the information to a school resource officer with the Strasburg Police Department the next day. The school resource officer then relayed the information to the Sheriff’s Office the same day.

Maj. Scott Proctor of the Sheriff’s Office said Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley directed the Sheriff’s Office to serve the petition.

“This is a direct result of the investigation into the allegation made to us on the 12th,” Proctor said of the petitions.

Sheriff Timothy C. Carter, in an interview, likened the petition process to the serving of a court summons. He said none of the students identified in the petitions have been or will be detained while awaiting their appearances in Shenandoah County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

“In this particular case, they were served, and that’s the extent of it,” Carter said. “There’s no incarceration or anything of that nature.”

Proctor said the case stems from an incident Dec. 19 while the boys varsity and JV basketball teams were returning from an away game. The team played Moorefield High School in West Virginia on Dec. 19.

Wiseley was unavailable for comment. In an email message, she said she was waiting “until a condition is met – which I believe is occurring today” before issuing a statement about the case.

Proctor said coaches were aboard the bus but denied a media report published elsewhere Thursday that said they had witnessed the incident.

Eric Wiseley, a defense attorney in Front Royal, gave some details based on an account from a client whom he identified as one of several adults on the bus.

Wiseley, who is married to the commonwealth’s attorney, said his client is not the target of a criminal investigation and has not been charged with any offense. He vehemently denied that his client witnessed any of the alleged behavior that led to the accusations against those named in the juvenile petitions.

Eric Wiseley said the adults were seated far in the front of the darkened bus at nighttime and did not learn of the alleged assault until weeks afterward. He described what adults could see and hear on the bus as “raucous,” but typical behavior for players on the way home from a road win.

“I can’t even say for sure it did happen,” Eric Wiseley said of the alleged assault. “My client certainly didn’t witness anything. He’s as shocked and dismayed at these reports as anyone, probably more so.”

He added that his client has “cooperated entirely and completely” with the investigation “and will continue to do so.”

Jeremy Raley, superintendent of Shenandoah County Public Schools, refused to comment on whether any disciplinary action has been taken against the students served with the petitions or any adults affiliated with the boys’ basketball team.

“I’m not able to provide you with a comment regarding confidential personnel matters,” Raley said of the adults on the bus.

Eric Wiseley said there was at least one video camera on the bus, but he had not seen any tape.

Carter did not rule out the possibility that additional juvenile petitions could be served if new information surfaces about other offenses.

“This is what the commonwealth’s attorney directed, and if she directs us to do anything further we will, but at this point, this is where we’re at,” Carter said of the petitions served Thursday.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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