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Lawyer details alleged hazing at La Puente High

September 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Several athletes on the soccer team at La Puente High School have been arrested for allegedly hazing other players.

Authorities say there are four alleged victims. It was a parent of one of the alleged victims on La Puente's soccer team alerted the school about the hazing a couple weeks ago.

"I played soccer, I graduated 2003 from La Puente High School, and this never happened at all," said Luis, who asked not to use his last name because his younger brother is one of the alleged victims. He said his 14-year-old brother was attacked in a room next to the coach's office last May.

"He's been able to overcome it," he said. "He's still playing soccer, doing cross country, doing a lot of stuff."

Four students were taken into custody on criminal assault charges Friday. The students were cited and released to their parents. The district and sheriff's department would not go into details about the alleged abuse.

"This is intolerable, and our district cannot tolerate this," said Superintendent Barbara Nakaoka of the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District during a news conference.

Attorney Brian Claypool, who represents families in the Miramonte child abuse case in South Los Angeles, is representing the families of three of the alleged victims. Claypool described how one of his clients tried to defend himself from members of the varsity boys soccer team during the alleged attack. He said a javelin was used to try to sexually assault his client.

"He fought so hard, he grabbed (the) piece of javelin with both of his hands," Claypool said during a news conference.

One woman outside the school said her son is one of the alleged victims. She said he was beaten by his teammates, but wouldn't go into detail about what happened.

Claypool said one victim was treated at the hospital for injuries. The lawyer also claimed the teacher-coach encouraged the hazing.

"There is a teacher coach involved, and we don't know the degree of involvement," Nakaoka said, adding that he was placed on paid administrative leave.

Luis said his brother asked the soccer coach if he could do chores instead of going into the room where the alleged attacks happened.

"So yes, he must have known parts of it," Luis said.

The sheriff's department confirmed that the alleged hazing happened on campus. It was unclear how long the alleged hazing has been going on for.

"We are going back as far back as we need to go back. I know specifically, the detective has talked to children as far back as 2003," said Sheriff's Sgt. Dan Scott.

A group of concerned parents demonstrated outside the school, asking for justice and that the coach be removed from the school.

A friend of one of the accused players was shocked to hear the allegations.

"If they were part of it, I didn't expect them to be a part of it. They are really cool. You could go to them for anything if you needed help with anything," said Ashley Acosta, a student.

The district said it is providing counseling to students, and are urging students to come forward if they see any inappropriate behavior. Anyone with information was asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Special Victims Bureau at (877) 710-LASD.


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