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Mount Carmel football players waive hearing, possibly headed to trial in hazing case

Four players accused as adults appeared in court for a scheduled preliminary hearing in Milton on Thursday.

MOUNT CARMEL, Pa. — Four Mount Carmel Area football players charged as adults in a hazing incident gave up their right to a hearing on Thursday morning.

Reed Witowski, Damon Dowkus, Tyler Owens, and Michael Balichik appeared in court for a scheduled preliminary hearing in Milton.

The Pennsylvania attorney general's office filed charges in December against nine current and former football players from the Mount Carmel Area School District for a hazing incident in 2020.

According to court papers, nine alleged victims were blindfolded, told to pull down their pants, and burned with sparklers and punks — burning sticks used to keep bugs away. Investigators say the students were burned on their buttocks. Some of the injuries required hospital visits, and some had scarring.

The case moves forward for those in court on Thursday to a possible trial.

Mount Carmel Area administrators canceled three games of the 2020 football season after word of the alleged hazing incidents.

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