NORWOOD, Colo. —
"We always thought it was a great area to raise kids," the principal said in an interview. "They were really happy kids, liked going to school, straight-A students."
Their 13-year-old son was especially good at sports. A sturdy teenager with dimples and a quick smile, he started Pee Wee wrestling at age 3. At home he dazzled his family with his knowledge of sports trivia and enjoyed hanging out with his older brother. Yet in the months leading up to the attack, his mother become concerned that her usually easy-going son was being teased at school, she said.
In February 2012, the boy rode the bus to Denver as the team manager, in charge of videotaping the older high school students at the meet. After the coaches and wrestlers left the bus to weigh in, three older and bigger boys pinned the younger boy down, bound him with the tape, pulled down his pants and assaulted him, according to the principal. His parents were at a hotel, awaiting the start of the meet.
Bloomberg isn't naming the boys involved because they are juveniles.
Just before the meet started, the principal's older son heard the attackers laughing about the assault on his brother and told his father.
"I was shocked beyond belief, and I was mad," the father said. "I do believe I was madder than I have ever been. You're trying to protect your kids, and then something like this happens."
The father sought out his son, who told him what had happened. He then confronted Harris, the head coach, who at first said nothing had occurred, according to the father. In subsequent conversations, Harris said: "This happens 1,000 times a day around the U.S.," the principal recalled.