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Judge In Hazing Case Puts Trial On Hold For Review

Photo from the 2012 Maine West Yearbook of Mike Divincenzo. (Credit: Chicago Sun-Times)

Photo from the 2012 Maine West Yearbook of Mike Divincenzo. (Credit: Chicago Sun-Times)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The hazing trial of a former north suburban soccer coach took an unusual twist Thursday when the judge hearing the case put the proceedings on hold.

As CBS 2’s Chris Martinez reports, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Warnick is now considering an acquittal after defense attorneys said the state did not prove Mike Divincenzo knew anything about hazing among soccer players at Maine West High School

The former coach insists his players never told him the details about hazing rituals on their team.

Prosecutors say he not only knew, but he encouraged it and never reported it.

On Thursday, another student took the witness stand and said the so-called “team initiations,” which involved tackling teammates and pulling down their shorts, was something the students did on their own.

It “was never more than rough housing” and “wasn’t an act of being abused,” he testified.

After the state rested, defense attorneys asked the judge to dismiss the charges, saying prosecutors did not prove their case.

Judge Warnick said he now wants to review all the testimony before making a decision.

Both sides must now submit written arguments to the judge by the end of the month.

A hearing will be held on Jan. 8, when the judge will either acquit the former coach or allow the trial to continue with the defense presenting its side.