WESTLAKE VILLAGE (CBSLA.com) — The family of a Westlake High School senior who was suspended is angry and talking only to KCAL9 about their ordeal.
Dominic Conti, 17, was suspended from school for five days following an incident at a football game last October 11. He reportedly confronted — and got into an altercation — with a football player he accused of sexually harassing his 15-year-old sister, a freshman at the school.
Conti, until his suspension, was also the school's senior class president. That position was taken away after his suspension.
KCAL9's Rachel Kim spoke to Conti, his sister and their father.
Friends and Conti supporters accuse Westlake High Principal Ron Lipari of coming down hard on Conti and protecting the school's football program.
The Contis insist they went to school administration to complain about the football player but say nothing was done.
"I'm a victim of sexual harassment," said Conti's sister, a Westlake freshman who didn't want her name used or her likeness shown. "And you know what, [the sexual harassment] it is not okay."
She said a football player, who had been saying vulgar things to her, did it again on the night of Oct. 11 -- for the third time.
"He begins asking me to do things to his private parts -- many things to his private parts -- and I begin to tell him no and I would never, ever do that," said Dominic's sister.
Her father and brother found a security guard and went to confront the football player.
Larry told Kim he asked the player, "Are you the one harassing my little girl?"
Dominic said, "That's when [the player] lunged at me and my dad and he threw a punch. In self defense, I pushed down his arm."
Dominic, a 4.4 GPA student, insists he never threw a punch at the football player and explained to the principal that he only acted in self-defense.
"I looked him in the eye and I said, 'Mr. Lipari, I do not regret protecting my sister,'" Dominic said.
The family believes the principal and the district are protecting the school's football program above females at the school.
Last August the school was allegedly involved in a hazing incident when the team traveled to Hawaii and Larry Conti believes the football players apparently believe they are above reproach.
"I felt a little upset with the school [regarding Hawaii.] The boy was just a process, he is part of the culture of that school," said Larry.
Despite the fact Dominic is back in school, he believes the suspension will hurt him with college recruiters despite his high GPA and school activities.
The family plans to sue the principal for defamation and for disclosing personal information about Dominic, Kim reports.
The Conejo Valley Unified School District issued the following statement Thursday in response:
"We respond immediately, and proactively to deal with allegations of sexual harassment when they are brought to our attention. We take responsibility to protest students from sexual harassment very seriously," Superintendent Jeffrey Baarstad said.
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