Home / National News / Freshmen on NJ High School Football Team 'Lived in Fear': Official


(SAYREVILLE, N.J.) — Younger kids on a New Jersey high school’s football team were routinely taunted, bullied and intimidated by the older players, often with “sexual overtones,” a local official told ABC News.

“They would live in fear of seniors and juniors,” the official said. “They would race to the locker room to get changed and get out before the older kids got there.”

The accusations come as Sayreville War Memorial High School shockingly canceled its football season Monday amid an investigation into hazing and bullying allegations.

Someone called police last week about the alleged abuse, the official said.

“It was a parent of a younger kid being taunted, threatened, bullied,” the official added.

Sayreville police referred ABC News to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, which is investigating the case. The prosecutor’s office declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

The high school will forfeit its remaining six games, superintendent Richard Labbe said Monday.

An initial investigation into hazing allegations found “incidents of harassment, intimidating and bullying … that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated and in general accepted,” Labbe said in a statement.

Sayreville is one of New Jersey’s most storied football programs, winning three state sectional championships in the past four years. The team opened this season 2-1, before forfeiting last Thursday’s game as the hazing allegations emerged.

Locals turned to social media to express disappointment, calling Monday a “sad day for Sayreville” and the abuse allegations “devastating.”

Separately, Charlie Garcia, an assistant coach for the team, was arrested last week on steroid possession charges. He later resigned.

Garcia’s first court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 10, according to the Office of the Somerset County Prosecutor. Garcia’s lawyer, Philip Nettl, did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

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