A high school soccer coach and several players in Pittsburgh are under investigation and have been suspended after an autistic student says players duct taped him to a goal post.
Austin Babinsack, 16, says the incident took place on Sunday night at Highlands High School soccer fields. He alleges that some of the soccer players duct taped his hands and legs and all the way up to his waist. He also says the players tried to take a photo of him and then walked off, leaving him tied up for 15 minutes.
“I was really shaken, I thought I was gonna be stuck there for a long time,” Babinsack told KDKA.
He was found by an off-duty Pennsylvania State Trooper, who reportedly helped free him.
The episode is being labeled a “hazing” incident, something Highlands School District says it does not tolerate. In a statement, the district said: “Highlands School District does not take matters such as hazing and bullying lightly. The district issues strict disciplinary action on students who think these actions are appropriate and harmless.”
Babinsack’s mother, Kristy, says her son was terrified and that “he could have died.” She says he could have had a heart attack from the extreme stress. And, despite the fact that Coach Jim Turner wasn’t present on the field at the time, she isn’t letting him off the hook.
“I feel the coach knew, he wasn’t there, but he knew what was happening,” Babinsack's mother said. “He knows that it’s been going on. He’s the adult, these are kids. Let’s face it - they’re 17. We have to hold the adults accountable first before we can hold the kids accountable.”
Turner and two players have reportedly been suspended for at least five days.