MADISON, Wis. - A Sun Prairie teenager has been charged for an alleged incident in August when deputies said he sexually assaulted his football teammate.
Ryan Fulton, 17, appeared in Dane County Court on Thursday, where he was charged with felony second-degree sexual assault, felony sexual exploitation of a child through filming and misdemeanor battery.
In court Thursday morning, the judge ordered Fulton to not have any contact with the other teens involved in the incident, not disseminate any pictures or video of the alleged victim online or on social media and not participate in any extracurricular activities with the other students involved.
Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said the decision to charge Fulton as an adult was because of his age.
Court documents allege that during a sleepover on Aug. 29, the alleged juvenile victim said his football teammates grabbed him and tackled him onto an air mattress. Documents showed Fulton put him in a chokehold so he couldn't breathe and sexually assaulted him with his hand.
The juvenile said his shirt, underwear and basketball shorts were on when it happened. He said he tried to kick at Fulton to get away from him, and he later texted his mom because he knew something was not right, according to the criminal complaint.
According to the complaint, when deputies questioned Fulton, he admitted to participating, and said he understood what he did was wrong.
His attorney, Jordan Loeb, called the situation "boyish behavior."
"This is a glorified wedgie. So I'm not going to condone kids doing that kind of stuff, but let's not be shocked that boys wrestle each other, that boys do things like this. If it went too far, there are a lot of ways to deal with it," said Fulton's attorney, Jordan Loeb.
Loeb told News 3 Now his client is still in school but the judge ordered him not to participate in after-school activities with the other teens, including the football team.
Loeb also said he believed the incident was not one that should be decided in court, but rather through another means, such as conversations with the other teens involved and their parents or the school, or deferred prosecution.
"He's not a criminal. He's a kid. He's a high school junior who was goofing off with friends," Loeb said.
Fulton’s attorney Jordan Loeb says his client has “no understanding” of the impact felony charges could have on his life.— Rose Schmidt (@RoseSchmidtTV) September 26, 2019
“He’s not a criminal. He’s a kid. He’s a high school junior who was goofing off with friends,” Loeb says. #news3now pic.twitter.com/MIHO5xqa6R
News 3 Now asked Ozanne whether he believed the alleged incident that took place was considered hazing.
"Obviously, there's any number of things that occur when you have groups of people in an around a victim. Do you call it harassment? Do you call it victimization? Do you call it hazing?," Ozanne said. "Either way, we have charged what we have charged, and we're moving forward with the case at this point."
Dane County DA Ozanne on whether the behavior Fulton allegedly participated in is considered hazing:— Rose Schmidt (@RoseSchmidtTV) September 26, 2019
“There’s any number of things that occur when you have groups of people in and around a victim. Do you call it harassment? Do you call it victimization? Do you call it hazing?” pic.twitter.com/UfoL1jBmDO
According to court documents, the alleged victim told the deputy that the incident was painful.
Court documents show another teammate videotaped the incident with his cellphone and posted it on a Snapchat group between the four boys present, as well as two other boys who were not there at the time. The teammate said he had taken about 20 videos the night of the sleepover. He said he was wrestling with the alleged victim and was "egging" Fulton on to help him. The teen said he heard the alleged victim cry out as he was assaulted.
The alleged victim said that a maneuver similar to what was done to him the night of the sleepover had been going on in the previous school year in Sun Prairie, and that teenage boys were doing the maneuver to each other, but not like what Fulton had done to him. The alleged victim said the maneuver had not been a problem at school ever since the football coach put an end to it.
Fulton’s attorney says he believes the situation should be decided outside of the court system, through conversations with the other students or by deferred prosecution. #news3now— Rose Schmidt (@RoseSchmidtTV) September 26, 2019
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