The payment of
The suit related to an incident in the fall of 2012 in which players on the boys soccer and baseball teams at Maine West said teammates initiated them by assaulting them at practice, in at least one case by poking them in the rear with fingers and a stick.
Other players then came forward to say they had been assaulted by teammates that summer and in 2007 and 2008, one alleging that they tore off his pants and underwear, following a long-standing custom.
After interviews with the victims, authorities charged six students in juvenile court with misdemeanor assault. Two coaches were fired.
The district issued a statement that officials entered the agreement in part to avoid the cost of further litigation, and so as not to have to call former students and staff to testify at trial.
"The settlement will bring to a closure a matter that has weighed heavily on the entire community since 2012 and is, in the judgment of the Board, in the best of interests of all involved," the statement read.
The suit alleged that one victim's teammates tore his pants off, pushed him to the ground, shoved his face in the dirt, held him so he could not resist, struck him about the body, grabbed his genitalia and sodomized him with fingers and foreign objects. Police had said earlier that they concluded there was inappropriate touching by perpetrators but no penetration.
The complaint accused the district and its officials of allowing a culture of hazing that led to younger players being beaten and sexually abused by upperclassmen. Attorney
"The children involved in this experience, along with their families, are happy that they have been able to put this chapter of their lives behind them," he said. "As they are now all adults, they are concentrating on their college studies, careers and bright futures."
The incidents led the state to pass a new law which makes it a Class B misdemeanor for a school official to fail to report hazing to educational authorities when it causes bodily harm. It also prompted the district to hire a former prosecutor to conduct an internal investigation, hire a consultant to hold anti-hazing focus groups and retrain coaches on anti-hazing measures.
(c)2016 the Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.