Vermont police probe Norwich University allegations of ‘waterboarding’ at historic military college
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Vermont police are investigating an alleged hazing incident at the country’s oldest private military college involving reports of “branding and waterboarding,” according authorities.
A Northfield police officer responded to Norwich University on March 20 after a report of someone being held at knifepoint, according to court documents.
The victim later told police that while heavily intoxicated, rugby teammates branded her with heated pliers, according to the documents. She said she would not have agreed if she were sober. And when the investigating officer looked at her phone, she allegedly found video showing a woman apparently being waterboarded.
Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. Norwich University is the nation’s oldest private military academy.
(AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
Norwich’s director of media relations Daphne Larkin told Fox News Digital Monday that the school is also conducting an investigation of its own into the matter.
In a letter addressed to the campus community, Norwich President Dr. Mark Anarumo wrote that once the investigations are complete, the school would take “legal action and disciplinary measures.”
“Hazing and related negative behavior that puts student health and safety at risk is contrary to Norwich University’s Guiding Values,” he wrote. “It is not and will not be tolerated.”
The probe involves student affairs staffers, an independent investigator and multiple local law enforcement agencies, according to Anarumo.
He also disputed claims that the school was not cooperating with police but said certain sensitive information would require subpoenas or warrants.
“While Norwich University has fully cooperated with all law enforcement agencies, including the Northfield Police, Department, we have continued to ensure the constitutional rights and privacy protections of our students and employees are respected,” he wrote. “Law enforcement officials can sometimes become confused about the extent to which we may respond to their requests, but this in no way should be viewed as a lack of cooperation.”
Anarumo cited privacy concerns for students and university employees.
“Subpoena and warrant processes ensure law enforcement activities on campus are conducted lawfully and ensure our community members’ constitutional protections are preserved,” he wrote. “They do not represent and should not be construed as a lack of cooperation.
The statement followed a report in the Barre Montpelier Times Argus in which Northfield Police Chief John Helfant was quoted as saying officers had been denied access to interview students in their dorm rooms on Friday in connection with the case.
Police flocked to the campus Friday as part of their investigation into “branding and waterboading of and by NU students,” he told the paper.
“NU was only willing to have students come away from their residences and meet us at a conference room,” he said. “There are a host of issues which this presents for law enforcement.”
The school, founded in 1819, is known at the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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