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LUNDSBERG HAZING SCANDAL

HAZING

Nine students charged for elite school hazing

Nine students and one employee at prestigious Swedish boarding school Lundsberg have been charged for burning a 14-year-old boy with an iron in a hazing ritual in August.

Nine students charged for elite school hazing
The iron burn on one of the students. Photo: Polisen

All nine of the students were charged with making illegal threats, with two additionally charged with causing actual bodily harm (vållande till kroppsskada).

The school, which is the alma matter of Prince Carl Philip, was forced to close its doors temporarily following the hazing scandal, which saw one 14-year-old boy taken to hospital as his burns were so serious.

Police had initially labelled the crime as aggravated abuse.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority (Åklagarmyndigheten) wrote in a statement on Tuesday that the charges were filed after the students harassed four younger students and threatened to burn them with the iron.

"In my opinion, the threat was such that the plaintiffs felt serious fear for their personal safety. In any case, it was with ruthless behaviour that they molested these boys, all of whom were new at the school," Vice Chief Prosecutor Niclas Wargren said in a statement. 

Besides the charged boys, all of whom were born in 1995, the school's house supervisor was also charged for complicity, as he knew about the hazing plan and had allowed it.

During the incident, the victims were told to lie on the floor and were made to believe they were about to be burnt with a hot iron. Some of them were then burned on their backs after one of the attackers said "Now this is going to hurt". The students responsible claimed they didn't intend to burn their fellow students, rather that they didn't think to check if the iron was still warm after it had been unplugged.

The incident did not mark the first time Lundsberg made headlines for students behaving badly. In May last year, students at the school spoke out after being forced into oral sex and eating manure and in 2011, a student had their nipples burned with an electric fly swatter.

Principal Staffan Hörnberg was sacked in the wake of the hazing scandal. The prestigious school reopened in early September and the decision to close it in the first place was criticized by an administrative court (förvaltningsrätten).

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SCHOOLS

‘Sweden’s Eton’ probed after new abuse claims

Sweden's Schools Inspectorate has demanded answers from Sweden's most elite boarding school, after one or more pupils were reported to the local police for alleged sex crimes.

'Sweden's Eton' probed after new abuse claims
Lundsbergs School is in Värmland,a three-hour drive west of Stockholm. Photo: Johanr/Wikimedia Commons
Lundsbergs Boarding School counts Sweden’s Prince Carl Phillip and the scions of some the country’s richest families among its alumni, earning it the title “Sweden’s Eton”. 
 
But the school has repeatedly faced accusations of severe bullying, with the Schools Inspectorate ordering it to be shut down in 2013 following allegations that boys were burned with hot irons by older pupils.
 
According to “unconfirmed information” published in Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper, the police investigation launched this week relates to a secretly filmed sex tape showing sexual abuse of female pupils. 
 
Björn Persson, acting head for the Swedish Schools Inspectorate's investigations wing in Gothenburg confirmed to Sweden’s TT newswire that he had been in contact with the school. 
 
“We have had telephone contact with the headmaster after which we decided to request a written report. We want them to explain what happened and what remedies have been taken,” Persson said.
 
According to Aftonbladet school staff reported one or more pupils to the police.
 
“I can confirm that we have received such notification and that it applies to several plaintiffs,” Anders Forsman of the local Värmland police told the newspaper. “It is the school management who made the complaint and it concerns incidents that are further back in time, but have been revealed now. This is not something which has happened this year.”
 
However, Aftonbladet newspaper reported on Thursday that a pupil had been hit with a belt, although the school’s headmaster Johan Harryson said this had been exaggerated. 
 
“Two students got into a serious disagreement with one another and we have sent one home for unacceptable verbal attacks. A belt was waved around, and there was contact with the belt at one point, but according to the victim the fright was the main thing.”
 
Harryson, who was appointed in 2014 to draw a line under the school’s problems, said the turnaround was still a work in progress. 
 
“We have worked extremely determinedly to make sure such things no longer happen, but we’re not there yet” he told TT. “It simply behoves us to keep working at it.” 
 
Sweden’s Schools Inspectorate in 2011 roundly condemned the school in a report claiming that younger pupils were regularly humiliated and abused by their seniors, with little attempt from the school's management to intervene.