Norwich Women’s Rugby Team Accused of Branding, Waterboarding Teammates

A player claims teammates branded her with pliers and a lighter, and a cell phone video showed another woman being waterboarded.

Norwich Women’s Rugby Team Accused of Branding, Waterboarding Teammates

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NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Police are investigating Norwich University’s women’s rugby team for alleged hazing after a player claimed she was branded last month.

Northfield Police responded to the private military school on March 20 for a report of someone being held at knifepoint in a dorm room, reports The New York Post. Officers located an intoxicated member of the rugby team who was wielding a knife inside Dodge Hall. She said she thought team members had broken into her room and that she grabbed the knife and threatened them with it.

Two days later, the woman spoke with police about the alleged hazing. The player told police she had been “branded” with pliers and a lighter by other members of the rugby team. The victim said she was too intoxicated to say no and that she would not have agreed to it had she been sober.

With her permission, police looked through the victim’s phone and discovered a video of another woman with a cloth held over her face while a third woman poured liquid onto the cloth. In court records, police described what they saw as “waterboarding.”

Last week, Northfield Police executed search warrants for two dorm rooms and for electronic communications after the school allegedly refused to fully cooperate with the investigation.

Chief John Helfant also said school officials denied police access to students in their dorm rooms and would only allow police to speak with students in a conference room.

University spokesperson Daphne Larkin said the school has fully cooperated with the investigation.

“Norwich University is subject to federal student privacy laws and other restrictions on what it may disclose,” she wrote in a statement to the Barre Montpelier Times Argus. “Sometimes, law enforcement officials become confused about the extent to which we may respond to their requests. Norwich University has fully cooperated with the Northfield Police Department in their investigation of the allegations surrounding this incident while ensuring the constitutional rights of our students and employees.”

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About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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