Thursday, April 07, 2011

Lawsuit over football attacks in New Mexico

Parents of an alleged victim of sexual assault in Albuquerque, New Mexico have filed a lawsuit against the Los Lunas school board, the superintendent, the high school principal, and five football coaches. News came out last fall (we missed it--sorry) that incidents of hazing had occurred within the Valencia High School football team. There are three alleged victims. It is the parent of one of these three who has filed the lawsuit. There was a criminal investigation of the incidents, but it does not appear that any formal action has been taken since the findings of that investigation were turned over to the District Attorney's office. Someone from the DA's office said decisions about charges would be made at the end of this month. The lawsuit alleges that the victim experienced physical and sexual abuse at the hands of three senior members of the team while other members of the team looked on and cheered. It is being referred to as a hazing incident--again one of several that occurred last fall within the team. The lawsuit alleges both Title IX and due process violations. The coaches were allegedly in another part of the locker room while the incident was taking place and two of the five named coaches are the parents of two of alleged perpetrators. So it will be interesting to see if there is enough evidence to prove that school authorities had awareness of the harassment and failed to remedy it.