"Sex assault hazing" alleged at Calif. high school, soccer coach on leave

Current and former students at La Puente High School are being investigated by police after allegations of a hazing incident that happened on school grounds
CBS Los Angeles
Students and a soccer coach at La Puente High School east of Los Angeles are being investigated in an alleged hazing incident involving sexual assault of freshman soccer players.
CBS Los Angeles

(CBS) LA PUENTA, Calif. - A coach is on leave and a Southern California high school is being sued amid allegations that four teenage boys were sexually assaulted as part of a hazing ritual by fellow members of their soccer team, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Attorney Brian Claypool said in a news conference Monday that four freshman boys at La Puente High School east of Los Angeles were hazed last spring on school grounds. The boys made the high school's varsity soccer team and were allegedly sexually assaulted by older teammates in a room next to the coach's office.

The victims were between 14 and 15 years old and the alleged incidents are believed to have happened in May. One player was reportedly hospitalized.

Claypool said the soccer coach "lured young boys to a back room to facilitate varsity members of the team sexually assaulting the boys by attempting to sodomize them with a foreign object."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department arrested four suspects, including an 18-year-old student and three juveniles, for assault against children. All four were released to their parents. District officials said the coach, who is also a teacher at the high school, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Claypool said the school attempted to cover up hazing incidents and that they "knew or should have known that these horrific acts were being carried out on school grounds."

"The hazing incidents have gone on for several years and [these new incidents] may have risen to the level of a crime," Sgt. Al Fraijo said.

Officials said a mother of one of the alleged victims alerted authorities early September after she heard her son crying in his room and he told her what happened.

School administrators discussed the incident with students on Friday and released a letter which was sent home to parents.

During the investigation, detectives interviewed more than 70 people, including former and current students.

Anyone with information on the alleged assaults is urged to call Special Victim's Bureau detectives at (877) 710-LASD.