Pettway Gets Charges Dismissed In Wheaton College Hazing Incident; Attorney Says Many Claims Of Victim Were False

Sunday, March 24, 2019
Ben Pettway
Ben Pettway

Ben Pettway, of Lookout Mountain, Ga., on Friday was given court supervision and 50 hours of community service in a 2016 hazing incident at Wheaton College.

Pettway, 23, accepted responsibility for disorderly conduct in an appearance in DuPage County Court in Illinois. The misdemeanor was then dismissed in court, his attorney said.

Four other football teammates earlier pleaded guilty to charges arising from the same incident.

Authorities earlier said fellow football player was seriously injured on March 19, 2016 after being bound in duct tape and left on a baseball field. He said the teammates placed a pillow case over his head and removed him from a dorm.

A prosecutor said, “This morning, Benjamin Pettway took responsibility for his participation in a hazing incident. Hopefully, the defendants in this case have learned something from this experience."

Chattanooga attorney Lee Davis said, "On Friday all charges against Ben Pettway were dismissed.  In an agreement with DuPage County prosecutors Pettway accepted responsibility to a Class C misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, which DuPage County Judge Brian Telander equated to slightly more than a traffic ticket. Judge Telander then dismissed the misdemeanor in court after labeling Pettway "the least culpable" of the five former Wheaton football players who had been accused of assaulting freshman teammate Charles Nagy.

 "I'm very happy for Ben and the Pettway family that the case was dismissed. Before today, there were nine felonies charged, the state moved to dismiss all of those with the recommendation that we accept responsibility on disorderly conduct. Ben did that and we presented to the judge mitigation proof of Ben’s character and background, and based on those good qualities, the judge dismissed the disorderly conduct on Friday upon the payment of court costs.

 "Ben has no convictions on his record.  It is very important that the public knows that, and that this matter will be expunged from his record. Ben has maintained his innocence throughout this case, and ultimately the state came to see it for what it was, a prank among teammates, and the alleged victim in the case made up injuries that were just not true.

'Nagy claimed he suffered labral tears in both shoulders that required surgery when the incident at his dorm room on March 19, 2016, and taken to a Wheaton elementary school field. We proved that Nagy's injuries were pre-existing. By searching through hours of Nagy's video from high school we found the play where the actual shoulder injuries were sustained. Two independent doctors concluded that Nagy could not have been injured in the incident as he claimed.”

 Ben Pettway said, "This has been a long battle for the truth, and finally my name has been cleared. For three years, the facts in this case have not changed, and my stance has not wavered. The evidence in this case has proven I am not guilty of the felony allegations against me. As to the Class C misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge, I pled no contest in order to bring this case to a close for the sake of my family and me.

"My only regret is that the accuser chose to distort and misrepresent a good, spirited prank as alleged crimes. I am thankful the case and all charges against me have been dismissed. The truth has prevailed."

Attorney Davis stated, "When you have someone who makes up a story, the stain happens immediately. When the dismissal happens much later after the fact, it's very hard for the person accused to get their reputation back to the same place. That's a real shame, because it's not supposed to be that way, but in reality that's how it is.

 "This has been a long investigation, and a large majority of the allegations were false."


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