Sexual Assault Charges For High School Wrestler's "Butt Drag"S

A seventeen-year-old wrestler has been charged with misdemeanor sexual battery and suspended from school for what he did to a fourteen-year-old last summer. But Preston Hill claims it was a legal wrestling move. That move? The butt drag.

The fourteen-year-old said he had repeatedly been bullied by Hill, who took his drinking water during practice and eventually performed the butt drag on him during an exercise.

It's hard to understand from the coverage in The New York Times exactly what's at issue here — it sounds like the butt drag involves grabbing buttocks flesh, but turns out that's just family newspaper primness. Here's a montage of what it actually looks like, which is rather more... probing.

In fact, the Fresno Bee had to issue a rather unusual clarification:

Clarification: There's no formal definition of the "butt drag," but coaches say it involves grabbing the butt cheek of a rival. Coaches vary on how often anal penetration occurs, but they say that it should never be intentional. The move does not involve skin-on-skin contact; the wrestler practicing the move is pushing his fingers against his opponent's uniform.

And they even ran a followup story about what the butt drag is.

Hill's accuser was clothed and the move was done with other students and the coach present — but the police report says that penetration was involved; The Fresno Bee paraphrases by saying Hill allegedly "molested a Buchanan freshman teammate by inserting his fingers deep into the boy's anus, causing him pain."

The case is also being read in the context of high school bullying. The accuser's father told The New York Times he might not have pressed charges, "But that's the wrong attitude. That's when you can end up with a Columbine situation."

And while every sexual assault charge deserves to be taken seriously no matter what, there's arguably an element of gay panic in the discussions around the case. The Times also quotes Dennis DeLiddo, a former coach at nearby Fresno State University: "And we don't want guys like that in the sport anyway, if they're probing." Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he means guys who would use the move for bullying or humiliation or sexual assault — and not guys who are interested in other guy's butts, with the attendant implication that all gay guys are waiting to pounce uninvited on whoever's around them.

According to the Fresno Bee, "In 2007, a 17-year-old South Dakota high school wrestling champ was charged with rape and attempted rape after six wrestlers testified that he penetrated or tried to penetrate their anuses."

Hill has declined a plea deal, saying he did nothing wrong, and the trial is set for mid-January. If convicted, he could serve six months in jail.

Wrestler Sees Legal Move; Prosecutor Sees Assault [NYT]
Related: Was Buchanan Wrestler's Move An Illegal Act? [Fresno Bee]
Coaches Clarify 'Butt Drag' In School Wrestling Case [Fresno Bee]