Three high school football players in Dietrich, Idaho, were charged in March for the locker room rape of a mentally disabled teammate, and now the victim's family has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the school district.
"[Football coaches and school administrators] were aware of or should have been aware of numerous incidents in which the plaintiff was subject to severe and pervasive harassment, racial discrimination, mental and physical assault and battery culminating in a vicious anal rape of the plaintiff by several white male students," the lawsuit stated, according to the Times-News
"The Plaintiff screamed and cried out but no staff member came to his assistance or even attempted to investigate the clamor from within the locker room," attorneys R. Keith Roark and E. Lee Schlender stated in the lawsuit.
The parents of the victim, who is African-American, charged that the attack was race-based, and that school officials turned a blind eye to previous harassment and assaults leading to the rape, reported KTVB-TV
The lawsuit claims that the victim suffered through "racial bullying, racial name-calling, racial taunting, racial harassment and humiliation and at least one physical beating at an event sponsored by the high school and supervised by employees of the district."
KTVB-TV wrote that 11 school district employees or volunteers were named in the lawsuit, including superintendent Benjamin Hardcastle, school principal Stephanie Shaw and football coach Mike Torensen.
Prior to the civil suit, John R.K. Howard, 18, of Keller, Texas, and Tanner Ward, 17, of Richfield, Idaho, were both charged with felony counts of forcible penetration by use of a foreign object in connection with the alleged October incident. Howard and Tanner are being tried as adults while a third teenager, 16, was charged as a juvenile on a lesser charge.
Prosecutors charged that the sexual assault happened in the Dietrich High School locker room. The victim was allegedly held down while Ward inserted a coat hanger into his rectum. Howard allegedly kicked the coat hanger several times once it was inserted. The incident resulted in rectal injuries that required treatment.
A preliminary hearing for Howard, who is finishing high school in Texas, has been scheduled for June 10, while Ward pleaded not guilty this month during a district court arraignment, according to the Times-News.
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