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Lawsuit alleges Illinois high school coaches condoned hazing, sexual assault

Lawyers representing two sets of parents have filed a lawsuit against Lake Zurich High School in suburban Chicago claiming school district officials, including football coaches, allowed "acts of hazing and bullying to occur within the team locker room, including forcing teammates to strip naked and forced un-consensual sexual assault," according to NBC Chicago. 

The suit was filed on behalf of two anonymous players and their parents, alleging a September incident in which one player was forced to strip naked in the shower while members of the Lake Zurich football team urinate him. The suit says 14 players witnessed the incident.

In October, a private security guard witnessed a locker room incident in which three players' names were chosen out of a hat following a team dinner in which two players were forced to perform an unnamed sexual act on the third.

The security guard notified then-Lake Zurich assistant coach and dean of students Chad Beaver of the incident on Oct. 28. The team played in a playoff game that night without suspending any players. The suit states school officials notified law enforcement on Oct. 31 (no charges were filed), the school principal on Nov. 1, and parents on Nov. 3. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was also notified but findings from its investigation have not been released.

The suit also released alleged hazing rituals within the football program dating back as far as 1997 which are said to include:

a. Football team members being stripped and locked into lockers naked;

b. Football team members placing their genitals on another member’s face without consent;

c. Multiple football team members urinating on another member without consent in the shower area;

d. Football team members shoving broomsticks into the anus’ of another member without consent;

e. Football team members punching another member’s genitals;

f. Football team members beating another member and then placing their genitals on their face or urinating on them once the member was on the ground; and,

g. Football team members being targeted for not showering on the premises.

In the meantime, Luke Zurich athletics director Rolando Vasquez, head coach David Proffitt and Beaver all resigned last month. Proffitt denied knowledge of any hazing incidents to the Daily Herald in November. "I have no idea what they are talking about," he told the paper. "That is not true, at least from my perspective. I can't speak for other coaches, though."

The school district has hired an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation.

The lawsuit seeks at least $50,000 for each family and for the district to install an anti-bullying monitoring and prevention system.