Former high school baseball player pleads no contest to assault, hazing

A former central Arkansas baseball player pleaded no contest Tuesday to charges related to the assault and hazing of younger students on a school bus.

A Polk County judge found Lorenz A. Fehrenbacher, 19, guilty of misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault and hazing, according to court records. A third-degree battery charge was not prosecuted as part of the plea.

He was also ordered to have no contact with the victims in this case and is required to pay $810 in fines and costs.

Fehrenbacher and Greg Lester were 18 years old when they were arrested in October of 2018 in connection with assaulting and hazing younger students on a school bus during a trip with their high school baseball team, authorities said.

According to an arrest warrant, Lester and Fehrenbacher were sitting in the back of a school bus during a Bauxite High School baseball team trip March 2 when they called four freshmen to the back of the bus. Lester and Fehrenbacher told the younger students they would beat them up if they didn't do as they were told, the document states. One of the freshmen told authorities he was afraid because the older teens had "beaten him up in the past," according to the document.

When one of the younger students went to the back of the bus, Fehrenbacher and Lester "stuck their fingers in there [sic] buttocks and grabbed their testicles" over the boy's clothing, according to the warrant. The freshman said the older boys held him down "while someone counted," the document states.

Fehrenbacher hit one of the freshmen in the chest while the boy was walking to the back of the bus, which made him fall back and lose his breath, the warrant states.

Lester’s case is still pending in court, with his defense attorney filing a motion in March for the state to produce the Arkansas Department of Education’s investigative file into the two coaches on the school bus.

“One of the defense theories of the case is consent: The purported victims consented to physical contact and alleged hazing,” attorney John Wesley Hall said in his motion. “The two coaches on the bus were responsible for the students. Moreover, they apparently deny hearing or seeing anything when speaking to the ASP in the police investigation, but, as some of the state’s witnesses state in the reports, that’s not just possible – they had to hear."