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Prep coach allegedly witnessed hazing

Nov. 29, 2012 at 2:57 PM   |   Comments

DES PLAINES, Ill., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- A Chicago-area prep soccer coach didn't just know team freshmen were hazed and sodomized, he allegedly witnessed it and congratulated one victim, police said.

A mother of one of three boys allegedly victimized while on the Maine West High School soccer team in Des Plaines, Ill., a north Chicago suburb, is suing the school, the coach, Michael Divincenzo, Principal Audrey Haugan and Maine Township Schools Superintendent Ken Wallace -- all of whom she said were aware of the sexual assaults her son and others had endured and failed to act.

Des Plaines police were told Divincenzo allegedly watched as seniors on the team tore off a freshman's pants, held him down and sodomized him with their fingers and a stick following a Sept. 27 team practice, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday. When the incident was over, Divincenzo allegedly congratulated the victim and "and asked him if it was all good."

Des Plaines police said six juveniles were referred to family court following their investigation into the allegations. The department declined to offer details of the charges because all involved are minors, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Divincenzo and another coach have been barred from coaching and temporarily reassigned by the district. He has not been charged with any crimes. The family's lawsuit seeks to have all the adults in question fired, along with unspecified monetary damages.

The case is part of a wider hazing problem at the school that has gone on since at least 2007, parents and attorneys allege in their complaint.

Another soccer player was abused this year and yet another in 2007 and another this year, their lawsuit claims.

In 2008, members of the baseball team allegedly tore off a freshman player's pants and underwear and exposed his genitals multiple times, the suit alleges.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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