The sexual hazing of soccer players at a Los Angeles high school may have been part of an on-going pattern, authorities said Wednesday.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is investigating the latest incident, and four students have already been arrested. Police say high school soccer players sexually assaulted students as part of a brutal hazing ritual for new members of the varsity soccer team at La Puente High School.
Now investigators are looking into whether the sexual hazing may have been occurring for several years. The team’s coach was placed on administrative leave after he was accused of not only knowing about the abuse but also encouraging it.
My guys fought like crazy. And when they got out, one said he saw the teacher wink at the senior player who attacked him.
- Brian Claypool, who represents three victims
One of the victims appeared on a television program to say that 10 players were involved in the attacks. So far, more than 70 players have been interviewed in the case.
Three of the alleged victims have hired an attorney and are planning to sue the school district. Another victim may join the suit. Two of them claim they were sodomized inside the soccer storage room as part of a hazing ritual after making the varsity team. A third victim says he was able to fend off the attackers.
"A lawsuit is the only way to get any leverage over the school district and to force it change its ways," said attorney Brian Claypool, who also represents dozens of parents in the Miramonte Elementary School case, where a teacher is accused of molesting students.
Claypool claimed two 14-year-old boys were “jumped” and then penetrated with a “javelin-like object” while a third, 15, “fought for his life” and managed to grab the pole away from his attackers, the LA Times said. The alleged abuse happened last year. At least one student sought medical attention for his injuries, the newspaper said.
"The coach told them to go in the room," Claypool said during a press conference. "Once inside, four big players pushed them down from behind. My guys fought like crazy. And when they got out, one said he saw the teacher wink at the senior player who attacked him."