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Former Mt. Carmel football players sentenced for hazing incidents

Former high school football players in Northumberland County entered pleas for charges related to hazing incidents in 2020.

State Attorney General Michelle Henry announced four former members of the Mount Carmel High School football team appeared in court on Monday.

Reed Witkoski and Damon Dowkus, former team captains, pleaded no contest to charges of hazing, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. They were each sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay prosecutions costs plus a $50 fine.

Tyler Owens pleaded guilty to hazing and criminal conspiracy charges and was sentenced to nine months probation. Michael Balichik entered into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program for hazing and criminal conspiracy charges.

During two separate incidents, the football teammates allegedly burned the skin of nine players with sparklers and other burning sticks in what they considered an informal initiation, according to the state Attorney General.

The remainder of the team’s football season was canceled in 2020 as a result of the investigation, according to court documents.