CHICAGO (CBS) — A 16-year-old boy has come forward with accusations of hazing at Maine West High School–the fifth student athlete to file a lawsuit against Maine Township District 207.
“He was tackled, he was held down and his pants were pulled down,” said attorney Tony Romanucci, who represents the family of the anonymous 16-year-old boy.
Romanucci described in graphic detail what the boy said happened last year as part of his induction as a Maine West soccer team member.
The abuse happened “underneath the bleachers where people sit and cheer for the football team,” Romanucci said.
Romanucci accused the boy’s teammates of tearing off the boy’s pants and underwear, pushing him to the ground, shoving his face in the dirt, punching him, grabbing his testicles and sodomizing him with fingers and sticks.
Romanucci says the student just now came forward because it took him some time to overcome the guilt and shame.
The boy’s mother released a statement: “Kids believe that this is just part of being a team player and that hazing is OK. It is not OK.”
The suit targets Maine Township High School District 207, Principal Audrey Haugan and former soccer coaches Michael Divincenzo and Emilio Rodriguez.
Romanucci said Divincenzo and Rodriquez allowed the abuse to take place.
Parents, coaches and student-athletes filed into Maine West Tuesday night for a meeting of the Positive Coaching Alliance. Afterwards, one of the presenters talked about the reception inside.
“We had a jam-packed gym. It was hot,” said Jason Sacks, Positive Coaching Alliance Executive Director.
Sources say coaches were forced to be there, but parents and students were there by choice. They all heard a decidedly anti-hazing message.
“71 percent of student-athletes said it had a negative effect outcome. So the research shows hazing isn’t really helping you at all,” said Sacks.
Students say they’re sick of being tarred as the hazing school.
“I wanted to say I’m sorry but let’s just move on. We’re all done with this,” said junior Lucas Mayzure.
And they say there have been positives in the wake of the scandal.
“It was very emotional when it happened and there were a lot of different feelings and a lot of different things that have been said so it could have just have just brought us together,” said sophomore Kevin Garrett.