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High School Coach Linked To Second Abuse, Hazing Case From 2008

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Nov 27, 2012 11:10PM

Maine West High School (Photo via Maine Township High School District 207)

Parents are suing a high school coach, saying he sanctioned the sexual assault of a 14-year-old in September as part of a hazing ritual, and now the school district is acknowledging it knew of a similar 2008 hazing incident involving the same coach.

According to the lawsuit and attorney Antonio Romanucci, the Maine West High School soccer coach Michael Divincenzo and other coaches ordered the team to do a "campus run" on Sept. 27, 2012. The Sun-Times writes (Warning: This is rather sickening):

That’s when the lawsuit said the 14-year-old soccer player was grabbed by older members of the team who tore off his underwear, held him down, grabbed his testicles and sodomized him with their fingers and other foreign objects.

The lawsuit alleged it was “part of the soccer team’s culture and has been sanctioned by its coaches for years.”

The attorney has said more than one student reported abuse in the Sept. 27 incident, and as many as five current and former students have come forward. According to Glenview Patch, the law firm representing the parents regarding the September incident says it will announce "an additional plaintiff or plaintiffs" at a press conference on Wednesday.

On Sunday, the Maine Township school district admitted an incident involving the same coach, Divincenzo, had been reported in August 2008 involving the freshmen of the baseball team. School officials said they did not know of that incident until weeks ago, but at the time, the students involved were interviewed and disciplined. Romanucci said those students received a slap on the wrist of being "withheld one inning from a baseball game."

According to the Sun-Times, Divincenzo and freshman coach Emilio Rodriguez have been reassigned with pay, and three non-teaching coaches "have been relieved of their coaching duties." According to the Maine West Athletics website, this would've been the Divincenzo's 11th season coaching the soccer team. He is not listed as a current baseball coach.

In the meantime, 10 students involved in the September incident were disciplined, and six students, all between ages 15 and 17, were charged as juveniles with misdemeanor battery and hazing.