PETE HARDIN CALLS FOR CHILD ENDANGERMENT INVESTIGATION & PLEDGES TO REVIEW MATER DEI HIGH SCHOOL HAZING
DA Spitzer Chose to Dismiss the Case Outright Rather than Request Further Investigation & Alternative Charges
SANTA ANA – Today, Former Marine Judge Advocate and candidate for District Attorney, Pete Hardin, called for additional investigation into battery, hazing and child endangerment charges and pledged to reopen the Mater Dei High School case if elected.
“The public is rightly concerned with DA Spitzer’s decision to reject police recommendations to file felony charges, and to do so without requesting further investigation,” said former Marine Judge Advocate Pete Hardin. “For a physical altercation to be considered ‘mutual combat,’ the combatants must have both participated willingly. Yet just one party escalated the altercation far beyond the ridiculous game, ‘bodies,’ causing broken facial bones and a traumatic brain injury–and only one party continued to batter the other as they stood still with blood streaming down their face. The DA’s decision not to charge the crime of hazing without any explanation also comes as a shock.
“Equally concerning to me as a parent is the lack of any investigation into Coach Bruce Rollinson for child endangerment. Rollinson admitted to being fully aware of the ongoing, violent, ritual hazing, and yet allowed it to continue. That puts every kid on this team in danger. As a parent there’s no chance I would let my son participate in a football program when the coaching staff willingly subjects the young men under their care to such an unreasonable risk of harm.
“The DA should immediately request further investigation. If he fails to do so, and if elected in June, I will review this matter to determine if charges are appropriate. Baffling decisions like these issued with virtually no explanation contribute to the crisis of faith and trust in our criminal justice and policing systems. DA Spitzer has turned the DA’s office into a black box, and that undermines effective democratic governance. We need transparency from our leaders and our public institutions.”
Current Orange County District Attorney Republican Todd Spitzer’s tenure has been defined by scandal. Four women in Spitzer’s office have filed claims asserting Spitzer promoted an employee and close friend despite having been made aware of the sexual harassment complaints against him. Spitzer later allowed the employee, who was the best man at his wedding, to retire with top flight benefits. Spitzer also attempted to drop sexual assault charges against high-profile defendants, leading a judge to remove him from the case. Survivors of the sexual assault survivors were “dragged through the mud” and “grossly mistreated” by Spitzer for two and a half years, leading two of them to abandon their case.
Spitzer has been involved in an evidence booking scandal, a jailhouse informant scandal, and has defamed a victim of OC’s deadliest mass shooting as retaliation for peaceful protest. Spitzer has also defended a DNA collection program known informally as “Spit and Acquit” that coerces defendants to give up their DNA to law enforcement, a practice the ACLU has called “unconstitutional.”
Pete Hardin is a former Judge Advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps, Deputy District Attorney, Special Assistant United States Attorney, and one of Southern California’s leading litigators running for Orange County District Attorney. Pete entered public service when, in 2005, he earned his commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. A combat veteran, Pete served in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012 as a member of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. Pete is a member of the Democratic Party.
Orange County’s rapidly changing electorate has led Democrats to now outnumber Republicans in Orange County holding a 4.1% voter registration advantage.