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Bullying or Butt Drag? Homoerotic Wrestling Move Leads to HS Student’s Expulsion

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By HVnews
January 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm



Have you ever heard of a “butt drag?” If not, that’s why we’re here. Let’s be frank: Because the sport of wrestling isn’t nearly homoerotic enough, there’s actually move that involves digitally penetrating the anus of your opponent through their uniform or clothing. In another one of those potato/pa-tah-to instances, you say “legit wrestling maneuver,” we say “wait ’til the third date.”

The butt drag has been around forever, and in fact, it’s taught by many, if not most, wrestling coaches as a tactic to gain leverage. But it’s also the centerpiece of a sexual abuse/bullying case in Northern California in which a Buchanan High student was expelled for using it on a teammate during practice.

The Fresno Bee reported the Clovis Unified school board voted unanimously Wednesday night to expel Preston Hill, a 17-year-old senior, for sexual battery and bullying.

Hill and his parents left before the decision was announced. “They thought it would be a waste of time to stick around,” said attorney Charles Magill, who had tried to have Hill reinstated at Buchanan.

The Bee reports: The board deliberated privately for fewer than 30 minutes before announcing the decision at a public hearing at Clovis Unified School District headquarters.

Hill, who was suspended before the school year began, will now be unable to finish his senior year at Buchanan. He is forbidden to even set foot on Clovis Unified property. His only options to graduate include enrolling in another school district or attending a charter or private school.

The expulsion came the same day Hill appeared at a pretrial hearing in Fresno County Superior Court, where he faces a criminal charge of sexual battery. Sources say prosecutors want to resolve the case before Hill’s trial on Jan. 27.

The alleged victim told Clovis police that Hill rammed two fingers into his anus during wrestling practice in July. Hill, however, told police he was employing a legitimate wrestling move called a “butt-drag” when he grabbed the boy’s butt cheek — not his anus.

The school board, however, upheld the Jan. 14 ruling by a three-member school panel that Hill had sexually assaulted his freshman teammate: The board also upheld the panel’s other finding to support Hill’s expulsion: that he bullied his teammate, committed an obscene act, and caused or attempted to cause physical injury to the teammate.

At the January 14th hearing, Buchanan’s wrestling coach, Tyrell Blanche, and several teammates insisted Hill would never intentionally hurt another teammate: But the alleged victim and his parents testified that Hill had bullied his younger teammate, made a threatening gesture during weight lifting, and then rammed two fingers up the boy’s anus during practice to humiliate and abuse him.

Another teammate submitted a sworn declaration confirming that he saw Hill make a threatening gesture towards the victim during a weight lifting session.

Typically, expulsion hearings are confidential but Hill’s parents asked for his to be public.

Sherri Poindexter, whose son wrestles at Clovis North High, became emotional when she told the board that its decision could affect other sports: Will a coach get punished for slapping a player on the buttocks after he makes a great play, she asked. Will a quarterback get in trouble when he touches the rear end of a center who is hiking the football?

Magill implored the board to give Hill a second chance. He attacked the alleged victim’s credibility, even though he was warned by the school board’s attorney not to discuss the boy’s testimony.

Clovis Unified attorney Tom Manniello, however, told the board that the boy was lying on his stomach when Hill assaulted him. He then pointed out that Blanche had said a wrestler could not use the “butt drag” move on an opponent in that position.

Magill said the expulsion will be appealed to the Fresno County Office of Education.

The alleged victim’s father doubts the decision will be overturned: “The board’s action sends a strong message that bullying will not be tolerated not only here, but everywhere,” he said.

This isn’t the first instance of a high-profile butt drag. In 2007, a South Dakota high-school wrestler name Jerome Hunt was found guilty and sentenced to probation after being charged with rape for performing the same move on at least six other wrestlers.

For Hill, the issue stems from whether he made the threatening gesture prior to the act and willingly tried to abuse and humiliate his victim. And if so, it’s clear-cut bullying. But what say you?

(Image courtesy of Fresno Bee)

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