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Mother calls for charges in brutal high school hazing beating

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James Walvatne, 17, displays the welts and burns he suffered during a brutal Inglemoor High School hazing incident. (Photo courtesy Sara Walvatne) | Zoom
The outrage grows over the brutal hazing of an Inglemoor High School student that left him with huge, painful welts and burns. His mother Sara is heartbroken and furious no one has been charged yet.

"I was just completely shocked and appalled," Sara Walvatne told KIRO Radio's Dori Monson Show about her son's Monday night beating.

James Walvatne, 17, was one of seven juniors chosen to be part of an unsanctioned school group called the "Naked Viks." The group cheers at school football games and other activities.

James said he was taken blindfolded into the woods and brutally beaten with PVC pipes and headless golf clubs by a group of outgoing seniors as part of an initiation. They also burned them with cigarettes, urinated on them and poured maple syrup and flour on their heads.

"Apparently last year the group of kids that beat our kids up were hurt too. So I guess they thought to take it to the higher level or whatever. I don't know what they were thinking," Sara said. "That is not initiation. Violence is not initiation in my opinion. I don't understand any of it."

Sara took James to Urgent Care after learning what happened. Luckily, she said there were no apparent internal injuries.

Snohomish County detectives are investigating to determine if charges should be filed against the boys behind the beating.

But James told KIRO TV he doesn't think anything should happen to them because "it's just tradition. I don't think they should be in trouble that could just ruin their lives," he said. His mother is appalled.

"He's telling me he doesn't want to talk to anybody," she said. "He seems to be wanting to protect them because he looks up to them. And I don't think he realizes what a horrible thing they did to him."

A number of listeners have written Dori, saying the school has known of the hazing for years and done nothing about it.

A Northshore School District spokesperson declined to discuss the incident with Dori. But Leanna Albrecht told KIRO TV the school "has heard rumors in the past, but when investigated, found no evidence. No reports of hazing involving violence have ever been reported."

"Sara said the school vice principal has called her twice to convey his sorrow and how appalled the whole administration was by the action of those outgoing seniors. I don't really know if they turned a blind eye. I would hope not."

The school has now banned the "Naked Viks" from school or any school-related activities. But Sara and Dori agree far more needs to be done to the former students behind the hazing.

"We punish people with years in prison if they beat an animal in our state," said Dori. "I mean if they do this to your son, I think these kids, they have to go away, I think they need to do time for this. This isn't just a harmless prank, is it?"

"This isn't harmless, they were beaten," Sara agreed. "I think they should pay somewhat. I don't know about prison but I think they should be made to pay and learn a lesson that this is not right."

In the meantime, she's worried about what happens to her son when he returns to school this fall after revealing what happened. She hopes he'll consider starting a new group that focuses on the more positive aspects the "Naked Viks" were founded on.

Related: Founder of "Naked Viks" disappointed by hazing incident

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com Reporter
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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