Ex-Maine West soccer coach Michael DiVincenzo charged in hazing scandal
May 15, 2013 (DES PLAINES, Ill.) (WLS) -- A former soccer coach at Maine West High School faces misdemeanor charges in connection with a hazing scandal.
Michael DiVincenzo turned himself into police on Wednesday. He was released on his own recognizance.
DiVincenzo was fired after hazing allegations surfaced. Another coach, Emilio Rodriguez, was also fired. Three soccer players and a former baseball player filed lawsuits claiming they were sexually assaulted during hazing rituals. Some students have said the coaches knew about the alleged assaults, but took no action.
On Wednesday, the Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez concluded a five month investigation of hazing at Maine West High School.
Prosecutors say students accused of participating will not be charged.
"Some of the more alarming incidents involve reports of the players' shorts or pants being forcibly removed by groups of players who held them down and poked the younger players' buttocks area with their hands or other objects," said Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.
Prosecutors say the players targeted four teammates between June and September last year. They say the attacks happened before and during practice.
A former student - whose identity is concealed because of the nature of the crimes - says he's grateful for the state's attorney's actions.
"I feel like something is actually being done now, I mean, DiVincenzo is being held responsible," said the alleged victim.
Some of the victims of the Maine West hazing case are also involved in a civil lawsuit, alleging school administrators did not do enough to prevent hazing.
"These people need to be held accountable for their actions and what they allowed to occur," said one of the mother of an alleged victim," said the mother of an alleged victim.
At the high school, DiVencenzo has strong support as a teacher.
"We think he was a great teacher...and I don't think he had any part in this," said Maine West junior Gustavo Plaza.
"i just hope he is okay and safe, and they find a way to plead that he is not guilty in any of this," said Maine West junior Joshua Redd.
And support as a coach, a coach they called D-Vo.
"I personally think the school has lost someone great. D-Vo has a tremendous impact on Maine West. You can tell the difference. The students miss him, and I miss him too," said former Maine West soccer player Xavier Gomez.
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