BEREA, Ohio (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered a lawsuit filed against Berea City Schools over sex assaults that happened during hazing at a football camp.
The suit has been filed on behalf of one victim against the school district, administrators, football coaches and others.
The hazing happened during a summer football camp in 2019, but the legal action has just been taken.
Back in 2019, the I-Team revealed an investigation into violent hazing at a camp for the Berea-Midpark Football team.
Investigators charged four players for sex assaults against 11 teammates.
Yet, the I-Team also revealed the district did not take any action against the coaches.
Now, the lawsuit filed by Attorney Timothy J. Weyls, Jr. argues the district should have done more to prevent what happened, and the district should have taken more action later.
The suit says, in part, “As a result of the negligent and reckless acts and omissions of all Defendants, Plaintiff was subjected to bullying, hazing, harassment and sexual assault.
During the Camp, Plaintiff was subjected to bullying, hazing, harassment and sexual assault as part of a culture of hazing and hazing rituals known by the Berea Defendants.”
It also goes on to say:
“The reported disturbances alone show that the Berea Defendants, including the Coaching Staff, were either not on site while the above described events transpired or that they were so negligent and/or reckless that they allowed these events to occur as part of the culture of hazing and abuse.”
“The Board and the District failed to discipline a single member of the coaching staff for their obvious failures, all in furtherance of maintaining a football program that was at all times valued above the safety and security of the children it exploits.”
We reached out to the district for comment. Superintendent Tracy Wheeler issued the following statement:
“Our top priority is the health, safety and well-being of our children. In June 2019, the Berea City School District took the matter seriously when administration learned of allegations of misconduct involving students. The district fully cooperated with law enforcement in its investigation and conducted our own thorough internal investigation. We have a process in place to handle any potential personnel and student violations of District policies, which outline the appropriate actions based on the facts of each situation. Due to pending litigation, the District is unable to provide further details and will not be commenting publicly about this situation.”
The victim in the lawsuit is now an adult, but was a minor when the incident happened. And, we’ve learned, under those circumstances, the lawsuit can still move forward after all this time.