3 more students join Maine West hazing lawsuit - KMSP-TV

3 more students join Maine West hazing lawsuit

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The Maine West High School hazing scandal is widening with a total of four students who have been added to the lawsuit, claiming they too were sexually assaulted by teammates.

In a shocking revelation, the alleged victims also claim, their coaches encouraged the hazing.

When the coaches ordered the team to do a quote on quote, "campus run," on an incoming varsity player, that was allegedly code for a hazing ritual that resulted in battery and sodomy, according to the lawsuit.

"These men, these schools, these people who are supposed to be responsible for the welfare of children are taking part in ripping our children apart," one mother said.

Trying to conceal her identity, another mother of a Maine West High School student came forward, saying her son was sexually assaulted as a part of a hazing ritual on his baseball team.

"His pants were ripped down, his boxers were repeatedly ripped down and he was exposed repeatedly," the mother explained.

She says the incident happened four years ago, and as a result, she wrote a letter to the principal in August 2008 requesting her son be transferred out of the school. It was immediately granted and the players involved were reportedly disciplined.

However, Maine Township High School District 207 says that it only became aware of the incident on November 16th.

In a news conference this afternoon, attorney Tony Romanucci announced that 3 more families of Maine West High School students were added to the original civil complaint filed two weeks ago in which a mother alleged her son was sodomized by some soccer players in September 2012. The lawsuit alleges the four victims were incoming varsity soccer and baseball players.

In a statement, the district says: "District 207 is reviewing the 2008 incident and has made it part of our larger investigation of incidents involving the 2012 West soccer team."

The most shocking allegation in the lawsuit is that coaches Michael Divincenzo and Emilio Rodriguez ordered the hazing.

"As early as 2007, Maine West has been practicing and encouraging hazing which includes sexual assault to minor children and did nothing to stop it," says Tony Romanucci

A former student, who we are not identifying, says she is friends with some former Maine West varsity soccer players who now attend her alternative school.

"It's been a tradition for a very long time," the student explains. "One person I was talking to said, 'we kind of knew it was wrong, but it was going on for so long, we felt it was right.' The coach knew about it and he was the one who was kind of not doing it, but allowing it encouraging it.

The district says coaches Divincenzo and Rodriguez have been temporarily reassigned with pay.

The coaches could not be reached for comment.

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