LA PUENTE (CBSLA.com) — An attorney announced a lawsuit against La Puente High School and the La Puente School District Monday morning on behalf of four teenage boys who were allegedly sexually assaulted by fellow members of their high school soccer team.
Attorney Brian Claypool said in a news conference that four freshman boys, who had made La Puente High’s Varsity soccer team, were hazed by older teammates in a room next to the coach’s office.
The alleged incidents are believed to have occurred in May of this year and involved 14 and 15-year-old victims.
Claypool said the team’s “teacher/soccer coach lured young boys to a back room to facilitate varsity members of the team sexually assaulting the boys by attempting to sodomize them with a foreign object.”
One player was reportedly hospitalized.
“They only did it to the freshmen. And that was kinda sad. They thought they were better than the freshmen,” senior Ashley Acosta said, adding, “I’m kinda surprised that some of my friends of the soccer team didn’t stop it.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has arrested four suspects, including an 18-year-old student and three juveniles for assault against children. All four were released to their parents.
The coach, who is also a teacher at the high school, has been placed on paid administrative leave, district officials said.
Claypool also alleged the school attempted to cover up hazing incidents and that they “knew or should have known that these horrific acts were being carried out on school grounds.”
Officials say a mother of one of the alleged victims alerted authorities in early September after she heard her son crying in his room and he told her what happened.
On Friday, school administrators discussed the incident with students and a letter was sent home to parents.
“The hazing incidents have gone on for several years and [these new incidents] may have risen to the level of a crime,” Sgt. Al Fraijo said.
Detectives have interviewed 70 students dating as far back as 2003 about alleged hazing incidents.
Anyone with information on the assaults is urged to call Special Victim’s Bureau detectives at (877) 710-LASD.