Lawsuit filed in Maine West High School hazing case
November 19, 2012 (DES PLAINES, Ill.) (WLS) -- A parent is suing Maine West High School for what she calls the sexual assault of her 14-year-old son by members of the varsity soccer team.
The woman, who wore a baseball cap and sunglasses to conceal her identity, said the hazing ritual was sanctioned by coaches at Maine West Township High School. She said that in October the school's anti-bullying laws, which are required by an Illinois statute, were broken.
"You think when you drop off your son at school, it is a safe place to be. But I feel the coaches should have kept him safe on the soccer field and they didn't do that," she said.
The parent was joined by her attorney, Antonio Romanucci, who filed a lawsuit against school officials and coaches. Romanucci said the incident happened September 27 during school hours and on school property. The freshman was pushed down, held down and sodomized by upper classmen who had pulled down his underwear, Romanucci said. The attorney said the hazing was sanctioned by the soccer team's coaches.
"That behavior, in today's society, is disgusting. It should never be condoned. It should never have happened," Romanucci said.
Romanucci says two other freshmen were also attacked.
Six students were petitioned to juvenile court for battery and hazing following a Des Plaines police investigation. Two coaches were temporarily reassigned with pay, pending the outcome of the investigation.
A spokesperson for Maine West Township High School District 207 would not comment on pending legislation, but said the district takes misconduct "very seriously."
Romanucci said he has evidence that hazing has been ongoing at Maine West for at least four years, and he believes there may be more victims.
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