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Teens on school trip charged with indecent assault and battery

Two former students of Ottawa's prestigious Ashbury College have been charged with indecent assault and battery in connection with an incident on a school trip to Boston.

According to Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk Country District Attorney's Office, the defendants are charged with assaulting a male victim at the Midtown Hotel in Boston on Nov. 16, 2007, where all were guests.

"The two defendants entered the victim's room, held him down, and indecently assaulted the victim," Mr. Wark said.

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The younger defendant, who is now 17, was arraigned in the Boston Juvenile Court on July 10. The older defendant, now 18, was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court July 9th.

Because both were minors at the time of the incident, they cannot be named.

In addition to the indecent assault and battery, Mr. Wark said that both of the men were also charged with assault and battery and ordered to have no direct or indirect conduct with the victim.

The charges, which came after an extended grand jury investigation, are "quite serious," Mr. Wark said, and carry a maximum sentence of 2 1/2 and five years.

No bail was set at either hearing and both defendants are expected to return to court in Boston at the end of the month.

Attorney David Apfel, who is representing one of the men charged, said his client has pleaded not guilty, and hopes to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

Mr. Apfel described his client as a smart and strong young man who "feels very sorry" for what happened in 2007.

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"My client feels awful that anyone has experienced any pain or any harm as a result of anything that may have happened," Mr. Apfel said. "Our hope is that we're going to be able to resolve the case in a way that does not cause any additional hurt to anyone."

The Boston Police Sexual Assault Unit originally began investigating four 11th graders at Ashbury College as well as another individual who did not attend the school in connection with the assault, local media reported in 2007.

"This was a very serious incident," Ashbury College headmaster Tam Matthews told the CBC at the time.

"Four boys went into the room of four other boys," he said. "What happened then led us to contact the authorities."

All of the students under investigation were suspended from the school, and the defendants never returned.

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