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Lawsuit: Hazing, Sexual Assault of 14-Year-Old Boy at Maine West

The mother of a Maine West High School student filed a complaint with the Circuit Court of Cook County alleging hazing at Maine Township High School District 207.

The parents of a Maine West High School student filed a lawsuit on Nov. 19 that accuses the school district, faculty and staff of allowing their son to be physically and sexually assaulted as part of a known hazing ritual for the boys' varsity soccer team.

, when, on Sept. 27, Michael Divencenzo, varsity soccer coach, Emilio Rodriguez, freshmen soccer coach, and other coaches ordered a “campus run” after the freshman soccer player was promoted to the varsity squad.

During the “campus run” the boy’s teammates grabbed him, according to the complaint, tore off his underwear, held him down so he could not resist, grabbed his testicles and sodomized him with their fingers and other foreign objects.

There have been no similar accusations at Maine East or Maine South High Schools, said Dave Beery, District 207 communications director. 

Lawsuit names principal, coaches

Audrey Haugan, principal at Maine West, Emilio Rodriguez, Michael Divincenzo, Maine Township High School District 207 and unknown faculty, coaches and staff are named in the complaint.

As a result of an investigation by Des Plaines police, six Maine West students were petitioned to juvenile court for various offenses, Deputy Chief Nick Treantafeles stated in an email to Patch. Treantafeles stated that because the investigation involved juveniles, no other information would be released.

Two other investigations occurring

In addition to the investigation by police, two other investigations related to the reported hazing incident at Maine West are ongoing.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and Maine Township High School District 207 are each working on investigations as well.

Maine Township High School District 207 released a statement regarding the lawsuit which stated administrators had not seen the lawsuit yet, but, in any event, would not have any public comment on pending litigation.

District 207 and Maine West “take the misconduct involving the soccer team very seriously,” according to the statement.

After receiving the initial report on Sept. 28, the school district and high school gave all relevant information to the Des Plaines Police Department and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, according to the press release.

District 207 disciplines two coaches, 10 students

As a result of D-207’s investigation into the matter, disciplinary action was taken against 10 students, according to the statement, and two coaches, Michael Divincenzo, varsity soccer coach, and Emilio Rodriguez, freshmen soccer coach, were relieved of their coaching and teaching duties, were temporarily reassigned, with pay, pending the conclusion of the investigation. Three coaches who were not Maine West teachers, were removed from their coaching responsibilities, the school district stated.

Plaintiffs want school to end hazing 

, the law firm representing the parents, said the complaint seeks monetary damages, but, more importantly, it seeks injunctive relief against the school district and the high school.

“We want permanent change to take effect so that this conduct never occurs again,” Romanucci said. “There has to be significant oversight in the school district so that this type of sanctioned conduct doesn’t happen again.”

Parents send their children to school, and they should feel safe about it, Romanucci said.

“It’s supposed to be a good thing, and instead, the child went here and got hurt,” Romanucci said. “If a parent can’t send a child to a school feeling that comfort level, why are we doing it then, with adults on the field?”

The complaint lists six changes to policies and procedures of D-207 and Maine West including that the school district be required to implement mandatory training programs related to hazing and bullying for faculty, staff, coaches and students, and the school district to be required to adopt policies with guidelines for teachers, coaches, staff and district employees about how to address hazing, bullying and violence.

When asked if there had been any changes made in Maine West’s athletic department as a result of the school district’s investigation into the reported hazing incident, Beery, the spokesman for D-207, said he could not confirm any changes had been made at this time.

“That’s something we may address at some point, but that’s not something I’m prepared to address today,” Beery said.

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Related: Maine West soccer team sets school record for wins despite hazing suspensions.

 

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George K. November 20, 2012 at 11:07 PM
We really need to change how we, as parents, approach the board members, superintendent and principals in our district. TOO many times I hear citizens say that we "need" to trust those in power and not question their decisions. This is hogwash! What we need to do is get people in positions that are willing to stick up for what is right rather then put their heads in the sand and have the Paterno stance---See no evil, hear no evil and thus I am sparred a lawsuit. Its time we vote these board members out of office and then go after the superintendents, coaches, principals, etc.., that do not PROTECT our children. If you are telling me that no one in authority looked the other way on this, then you are also part of the problem. How can Berry say "we may address at some point"....your statement should be that we condone hazing and if it is found that hazing has occurred the students involved in this sexual crime will be expelled and officials will be fired. Why do we not get statements like tha?t....Cowards!
Harold Chasten November 21, 2012 at 04:59 AM
With fools like these in positions of authority you have to wonder why so many decent people are out of work. This child has been destroyed by the very adults who are meant to protect him. The school district needs to be sued into the next millenium, maybe they care about money since they obviously do not care about kids.
Matthew Newman November 21, 2012 at 05:41 AM
Disgusting - both of those coaches should be going to jail. The kid was raped; plain and simple. Say the word. Hazing is running down the locker row getting snapped with towels, not restrained and sodomized!
Mary Beth November 21, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Outrageous. Agree with all of the above comments. How are these coaches 'temporarily reassigned with pay'? Have charges been filed? Are they still around kids? This child was raped, violated while under the supervision of adults who were there to protect him. No amount of money will erase the horrors done to this boy, but these predators need to be put away and major changes need to be made in this school. I have kids in this school and I am outraged!
PASTORART1974 November 21, 2012 at 05:46 PM
This is why parents who are not funded by and paid for by the Teachers' Unions should run for the various School Board positions this coming April. This is why voters should not vote for School Board Candidates connected with those unions.
Karen Lewandowski November 21, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Why aren't criminal charges being filed against the coaches and perpetrators? They should be formally charged in addition to the lawsuit.
Harold Chasten November 21, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Unions are the problem? What the hell is wrong with you?a child was RAPED. This should be national news. These people need to be arrested. Where are the police? Where is the outrage? Unions are the problem? IGNORANCE is the problem!
Harold Chasten November 21, 2012 at 11:46 PM
One of the kids even did a tv interview in which his family complained that suspending him would put him behind in his school work. Watch: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8836222
DENNIS November 24, 2012 at 07:19 PM
An over protective mother...the little fag probably enjoyed it too much...soccer players..lol This would not have happened to a kid participating in any other sport.
Kelly K November 29, 2012 at 06:56 PM
That poor kid was violated in the most humiliating way and how did the school respond? By keeping the coaches who were witness to it in the school teaching and getting paid. Why were those coaches not suspended without pay until the investigation was completed? They are adults charged with the task of protecting the kids under their care and they FAILED!! Why do they get to keep their jobs? What kind of message are you sending those kids other than the fact that adults don't care about their well being and protection!?
Pedro B November 29, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Unfortunately, they are probably simply following the law, and procedures set in place for instances such as this. I agree though, they should have been placed on immediate leave since it involves serious accusations of sexual assault of minors.
George November 30, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Dennis,sounds to me like your the homo condoning "sodomy". You would be a little more concerned if it was your son taking objects up his rectum. This Kind of RAPE usually happens with football any how...HELLO...PENN STATE. Get a life you are consuming other peoples oxygen.
DENNIS December 01, 2012 at 12:57 AM
George if it were my kids They'd meet the fools somewhere with a baseball bat...sorry to here your kids are homo's. Continue flipping the burgers at McDonald's George.
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Karma February 04, 2013 at 11:04 PM
...look into Superintendent Ken Wallace and is past...demoted from Principal at his old school in Indiana..history of intimidating run-in's with female employees at the various schools he has worked at (including current). There's more to this story and it's growing...look at Maine South as well. The Principal he hired there has zero respect from his staff...teachers and administrators...

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