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Former students plead not guilty

| December 27, 2010 8:00 PM

BLACKFOOT (AP) - Four former Blackfoot High School athletes charged with felonies and misdemeanors from hazing incidents police say occurred at a school locker room and on a bus have entered not guilty pleas to the misdemeanor charges.

Nathan Walker, Anthony Clarke, Logan Chidester and Tyson Katseanes, all 19, entered the not guilty pleas on Thursday in Bingham County Magistrate Court.

The misdemeanor counts include false imprisonment and battery and stem from events police say took place between Dec. 2, 2009, and Feb. 28.

The men also face felony counts of forcible sexual penetration using a foreign object. Preliminary hearings on the felony charges are set for Jan. 5 and 6 in 7th District Court.

A fifth individual, who is a juvenile and who police say was involved in the hazing, also faces charges. Bingham County prosecutors say they have filed a motion to charge that person as an adult.

"This is not a case of 'boys will be boys,'" said Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Randy Smith, the Post Register reported. "This is extreme horseplay gone awry."

The felony charges carry a potential $50,000 fine and life in prison. All four attorneys for the teens said they expect the felony charges to be dropped.

"Everybody needs to be aware that both the four defendants and two alleged victims are all friends and have been friends," said Chidester's defense attorney, Justin Oleson, KIFI-TV reported. "So far none of the attorneys have been provided evidence which would substantiate felony charges."

Brian Goates, Katseanes' attorney, said rumors surrounding the case in the small eastern Idaho town of about 11,000 have become ridiculous.

"The rumor mills are out of control in Blackfoot," Goates told the Idaho State Journal. "Wait until you see the evidence before you make a determination on this because it's not all that it seems."

Three of the four adults charged in the case have gone on to college to play football, but all have been suspended from their teams - Clarke from Boise State University, Walker from Idaho State University, and Chidester from Carroll College.

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