By now most of you have heard of these Chicago sexual assault charge allegations regarding Maine West High School in Des Plaines, Illinois.
According to reports, during a September 2010 campus run for the soccer team, four soccer players have said that they were sexually assaulted during a hazing ritual. As of August 26, 2013, a fifth member of that soccer team has now filed a lawsuit in the Cook County Circuit Court. More lawsuits are expected.
According to ABC 7 News, the attorney for the latest victim, Tony Romanucci has stated: “It’s unfortunate now that Maine West has become the national poster child for hazing, sexual abuse and scandal regarding sports in the United States.”
Romanucci says Maine Township administrators have known about hazing at Maine West for several years but did nothing to stop it. The lawsuit names the district, principal, and fired soccer coaches Michael Divincenzo and Emilio Rodriguez. Divincenzo faces criminal charges of battery, hazing and failure to report abuse.
“Had enforcement been completed and done in 2008, we wouldn’t be here today,” Romanucci said.
These allegations a reminiscent of the 2011 scandal and charges filed against longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky was charged with criminal sexual assault of at least eight underage boys on or near university property, and alleged actions by some university officials to shove under the rug these incidents.
In each of these cases, the higher-ups within the school system knew or should have known of these alleged attacks but did nothing to thwart them. The fact that hazing has occurred for a number of years and become part of the educational system does not make it right or status quo. High schools and universities exist to nurture and educate the young members of our society. Additionally, they are there to protect them, not to punish and humiliate them. Continue reading