WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB) — Two students from the Starpoint wrestling team have been arraigned and pleaded not guilty on second degree harassment charges in the Town of Wheatfield.
The two teenagers both were charged with one count of second-degree harassment stemming from an alleged incident that took place at a private residence on Townline Road in the Town of Wheatfield. Additionally, further second-degree harassment charges are pending for the same two students stemming from other allegations that occurred on the Starpoint School District property.
“We obviously contest that even a violation occurred and we entered pleas of not guilty and we expect that we will be able to have our day in court eventually and even the non-criminal charge of a violation dismissed,” Kevin Burke, attorney for one of the accused students, said.
“It’s basically going to be everything that they’ve gathered in the prosecution of this case, which would also include anything exculpatory. Things that would be in favor of the defendant, so we are looking forward to seeing that file,” Angelo DiMillo, attorney for one of the accused students, added.
There are also several civil cases against the Starpoint School District. In the initial lawsuit filed on Feb. 28, one wrestler and the parents of the other challenged the district’s “notice of emergency removal” of the two students after allegations of harassment within the team. The team’s season was canceled on Feb. 8 and the students were removed from school the next day. That case remains sealed because minors are named within it.
“We’ll continue to pursue that, but Judge Caruso has indicated he is going to keep the file sealed at this point, so there’s really not a lot we are able to say, but we do continue to advocate for their return from the school,” Burke said.
The attorneys say the district is supposed to complete a safety and risk assessment before removing students from school. DiMillo and Burke have yet to receive that assessment.
“It’s been a catastrophic series of events. They’ve suffered greatly from being removed from school. We believe it is punishment before proof that they’ve done anything illegal or improper,” DiMillo added.
News 4’s cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom on Tuesday.
Both former Starpoint wrestlers will return to the Town of Wheatfield Court on May 9.
- Man accused of stealing dozens of Buffalo parking meters
- Teaching safety skills with swimming lessons
- Ransomville man killed in motorcycle accident in Lewiston
- Why wildfire smoke could return to WNY
- “I’m at the verge of not being able to move forward”: Cannabis farmers grow impatient waiting for legal dispensaries to open
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.