A federal lawsuit filed against officials of an Illinois school district alleges that their failure to stop a culture of hazing on a high school football team led to a 2017 sexual assault.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday against Reed-Custer Community Unit School District 255 (Braidwood, Ill.) and six employees claims an incoming freshman was sexually assaulted during a July 2017 hazing ritual. Per the Chicago Tribune, the suit that was filed by the youth’s parents on behalf of their son alleges district staff then inadequately responded to the incident.
Per the Tribune, the suit also claims that the student was harassed by students and at least one teacher after the hazing incident was reported to police.
CBS Chicago (WBBM-TV) spoke last week with the student who says he was sexually assaulted, Anthony Brookman.
According to the suit, per the Tribune, hazing has been “a part of the culture of the Reed-Custer football Team for years.”
In the suit, the Tribune reports, the parents allege that in July 2017, four upperclassmen stripped clothing off their son and sexually assaulted him while he was attending a summer football camp sponsored by the high school in the summer between his eighth grade and freshman years. The now-15-year-old Brookman attended Braidwood’s Reed-Custer High School for the 2017-18 school year but now attends a different school.
According to what Will County (Ill.) state’s attorney’s office spokesman Charles Pelkie told the Tribune, three teens were charged criminally as juveniles with one count apiece of aggravated battery in a public way, a class 3 felony. The trial is schedule to begin Jan. 4.
District 255 Superintendent Mark Mitchell told the Tribune he has not seen a copy of the lawsuit, but says the district handled the situation appropriately.
You can read more from the Tribune on details of the lawsuit here.