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Lawsuit, more arrests in sexual assault hazing scandal at Texas high school

LA VERNIA, Texas - A federal lawsuit contends football players at a San Antonio-area high school were subjected to hazing, sexual abuse and other mistreatment as part of an initiation that coaches and others failed to stop.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by the parents of a former player who has since withdrawn from La Vernia High School. It names as defendants the La Vernia Independent School District, its superintendent and others.

Authorities say objects were used to sodomize young players and that the hazing primarily involved the football team, with other teams involved to a lesser degree.

According to the lawsuit, upon making the varsity football team as a freshman in 2015, the former player was told to “get ready”: “[the student] had heard from upperclassmen on the football team and other students that there was a varsity football ‘initiation.’” It goes on to describe multiple alleged attacks that included fondling and sodomy.

The lawsuit alleges that a “pervasive ‘rape culture’ dominated the School’s football program,” and that coaches and administrators alternately sanctioned or turned a blind eye to these “rituals.” It also alleges that the student whose alleged assaults spurred the lawsuit was but one of many students who “have been physically and sexually assaulted pursuant to these sadistic hazing rituals which include rape, sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration and sexual abuse.”

CBS affiliate KENS-TV in San Antonio reports that three students were arrested Tuesday. Ten others have been charged with sexual assault.

Superintendent Jose Moreno has said new protocols are being adopted so students can report instances of abuse.

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