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Published August 27, 2010, 11:23 AM

Chief: None seeking charges yet in Elk River case

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Police investigating hazing in the Elk River High School football program said Friday they have not found any players interested in pursuing criminal charges.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Police investigating hazing in the Elk River High School football program said Friday they have not found any players interested in pursuing criminal charges.

Chief Jeffrey Beahen said most of the players interviewed didn't think the incidents were a big deal. Some players reported being struck or poked by other players with a broom handle on their buttocks or legs, he said.

Beahen said that didn't mean no one will be charged in the case. Police had five or six players left to be interviewed on Friday. Coaches or teachers might have broken laws "by actions or inaction," he said.

"We're continuing to check with witnesses, staff and players to make certain that if anyone felt offended by these actions and wishes to pursue charges, charges will be sought," he said.

The school district suspended its varsity program on Wednesday and notified police after a parent reported the hazing. The coaches were put on paid administrative leave, and the district hired a law firm to look into the incidents in addition to the police investigation.

The school board was to meet Sunday evening in closed session to discuss the issue.

"Our hope is that this is going to get wrapped up by Sunday," said Casey Mahon, a district spokesman.

The team's first game is Thursday, when they host Becker. The Elks were 1-8 last season and haven't had a winning record since 2003.

Mahon said he had heard from parents upset at the negative publicity for the school. Administrators had a meeting Friday afternoon in part to discuss how to get past the incident, he said.

"Probably the bigggest thing we're dealing with now is we've got a hurting school over here," he said. "We've got a lot of kids who are feeling ostracized. ... These students are going to be starting school in a week and they need to start on the right track."

Elk River is a town of about 22,000 people about 35 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

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