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Judge adds charges in hazing case

The hazing incident among high school students was captured on amateur video.
The hazing incident among high school students was captured on amateur video.

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SKOKIE, Illinois (CNN) -- A judge Wednesday added counts of misdemeanor battery alleging bodily harm to the charges against 15 teenagers accused in a violent hazing incident in a Chicago area park.

The 12 girls and three boys were already charged with misdemeanor battery. One of the teens also is charged with unlawful possession of alcohol by a minor. Another teen is charged with only alcohol possession. In addition, two mothers are charged in the incident.

All 16 teens, who were high school seniors when the May 4 incident occurred, and the mothers appeared in Cook County Circuit Court for a status hearing Wednesday.

In addition to approving the prosecution's request to amend the battery charges, the judge set a new hearing for July 15 to give lawyers more time to review the five videotapes of the event.

The additional counts were based on criminal complaints made by high school junior girls who were targets of the hazing. Five girls ended up the hospital.

One mother, Christine Neal, is charged with delivery of alcohol to a minor after buying three kegs of beer and giving them to her son.

A second mother, Marcy Spiwak, is charged with allowing her home to be used for the consumption of alcohol by minors.

"This is nothing but a witch hunt," Ralph Meczyk, Spiwak's lawyer, told the Chicago Tribune. "This is a false accusation. Ms. Spiwak is absolutely innocent of the charges, and hopefully she will be exonerated by the end of the month."

Authorities said one keg was delivered to the home and the other two were delivered to the park where the teens had gathered for a powder puff football game that was never played.

Thirty-three seniors were expelled and 20 juniors were suspended from Glenbrook North High School after the incident.

A videotape showed senior girls beating junior girls and showering them in mud, feces and garbage while other students watched.

Of the seniors expelled, 31 signed an agreement with the school allowing them to receive their diplomas but not participate in last Sunday's graduation. The status of the other two students was unavailable.

As part of their agreements, the former students also agreed to perform community service and obtain counseling, and promised not to exploit the event through book or movie deals, said school attorney Lawrence Weiner.

Fifteen juniors reached a deal with the school to have their suspensions commuted. The other five maintained they were victims of the violence.

None of those charged have entered pleas.

According to Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine, misdemeanor battery is punishable by up to 364 days in jail. Other punishments could include probation, supervision and a $2,000 fine.

Correspondent Jeff Flock contributed to this report.


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