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Threatening letter reported in hazing case

'It did make me angry,' says man who spoke for accusers

Wayne County District Attorney Mark Zimmer says he will seek to try the three high school football players as adults.
Wayne County District Attorney Mark Zimmer says he will seek to try the three high school football players as adults.

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NORTH MERRICK, New York (CNN) -- A man who spoke in support of two Long Island high school students who reported being sodomized with broomsticks and other objects in a hazing ritual said he received an anonymous letter threatening him and his family with the same violence if he does not stop speaking on behalf of the accusers.

Jim Rullo, whose son is a friend of two of the students, told CNN he received the letter October 4, four days after he read a statement written by parents of two of them to the Bellmore-Merrick School Board.

"It was quite unsettling to receive a letter, but it did make me angry that someone wants to silence me because I responded to the needs of a friend," Rullo said.

Three varsity football players from Mepham High School in Bellmore face 10 criminal charges related to a hazing ritual in which they allegedly sodomized three junior varsity players with broomsticks, pine cones and golf balls while the team was at a training camp in Pennsylvania during the last week of August.

The charges include deviant sexual intercourse, aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment.

Wayne County District Attorney Mark Zimmer has said he would ask a judge to try the accused as adults, which would raise the charges to the status of felonies, several of which carry potential sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

The letter, postmarked in Queens, New York, was written in black ink on computer paper and mailed in a white business envelope that bore no return address, Rullo said.

A second threatening letter was sent to members of another family in the district who do not want to be identified, Rullo said.

Both letters have been turned over to police, who will test them for fingerprints, said Nassau police spokesman Officer Patrick Byrne.

He said police have beefed up patrols near Rullo's home.

Rullo has three sons in the Bellmore-Merrick district. His eldest, 14, has been friends with two of the junior varsity players since kindergarten.

"The fear to speak out for what's right has to stop, and we need to reclaim our community and people have to step up to reclaim it, because it's a nice place to live," Rullo said.

CNN producer Laura Dolan contributed to this story.


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