A former student at a private Catholic high school in Cleveland has filed a federal lawsuit against the $ 15,000-a-year institution, alleging that an older teammate on the track team sexually assaulted him repeatedly, but the attacks were largely quelled. the carpet.
According to the 27-page complaint, filed Tuesday in the U.S. Northern District of Ohio District Court, the 17-year-old plaintiff, identified in the filing only as “ John Doe, ” claims that before, during, and after after his enrollment at St Edward High School, he was “subjected to physical and sexual assault, harassment, hazing, bullying and retaliation from other students involved in the track and field teams.”
The lawsuit concerns violations of Title IX law, which prohibits federally funded institutions from discriminating against students, along with negligence, negligent recruitment, and emotional distress. The plaintiff is claiming unspecified damages.
A former freshman at St Edward High School in Cleveland has filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that an elderly student simulated a sexual act on him five times in front of others
The court document alleges that John Doe’s older and physically stronger teammate, identified as “Delinquent 1,” simulated a sexual act on him on five separate occasions.
Other teammates witnessed some of the abuse, and one of the attacks was videotaped and later shared on social media to humiliate the victim, the complaint said.
The complaint states that the plaintiff was a standout student and gifted runner who excelled at track and cross-country before enrolling in St Edward High School in 2019.
Before the start of the school year, Nathan Branner, a former Olympic runner and head coach of the school’s track and cross-country teams, invited the new freshmen to participate in a weeklong running camp in Bellville, Ohio.
According to the lawsuit, those present at the overnight camp, including the upperclassmen in St Edward, were largely left unattended.
The Title IX lawsuit cites Nathan Branner, a former Olympic runner and head coach of the school’s track and field teams, as a defendant. Brannen reportedly knew of the allegations as early as July 2019, but had no oversight of the teammates
Over the course of the camp, the younger boy is said to have been physically assaulted by his older teammate on three separate occasions.
Each time, delinquent 1 approached the younger boy, threw him down, pinned his arms, and simulated anal sex on him in front of other students, according to the complaint.
Out of achievement or intimidation, the prospective freshman did not report those assaults, the lawsuit states.
At the start of the school year, the alleged attacker followed the freshmen to a toilet during a team-sponsored dinner, threw him on the floor, pinned his arms and simulated the same sexual act again, the lawsuit said.
“Delinquent 1 and other students then mocked Plaintiff and openly laughed at the attack as they returned to the team dinner,” the submission reads.
Two weeks later, the older student is said to have attacked the freshmen again while the St. Edward cross-country team was in Dayton for a multi-day encounter.
“Delinquent 1 approached plaintiff and pinned him and held him face down so he could not fight or escape,” the document said.
The upperclassman then allegedly restrained the victim’s arm and again simulated sex with him in full view of at least three other students, all of whom were heard laughing.
Director KC McKenna is charged with Title IX violations, negligence, negligent hiring and emotional distress
According to the complaint, several witnesses filmed the attack on their cell phones and later shared the footage with each other and on social media, including on Snapchat.
The video of Delinquent 1 suppressing and committing the physical, sexual assault against plaintiff became known as “The Rape Video,” the lawsuit said.
Almost a year later, on August 30, 2020, the victim’s parents discovered the video and contacted Coach Brannen to request an emergency meeting.
According to the complaint, Brannen told the boy’s parents that he knew Delinquent 1 was the culprit and called him a “fucking a ** hole.”
When the parents asked why Brannen would allow an unattended setting where the attack could take place, the coach reportedly replied that “he didn’t want to be responsible for any oversight, and instead just wanted to coach the team.”
Despite Brannen’s alleged attempts to dissuade the parents from escalating the report, saying it would only make matters worse for their son, the couple raised their concerns and shared their concerns with principal KC McKenna and school president James Kubacki. the ‘Rape Video’ with them. with disturbing social media exchanges and lewd comments and images aimed at their son.
According to the lawsuit, the St. Edward’s student counselor sent an email to team members across the country and their parents on the same day, informing them that the school was conducting an investigation “to fully understand the impact of these types and to address the issue of to bring light. of postings’, school officials allegedly instructed students to delete all videos and exchanges from their phones and social media.
‘The whole investigation into [St. Edward’s officials] consisted of asking students leading questions about what they saw on the trip to Dayton and whether the [victim] acted upset about it, ‘says the complaint.
Several days later, school officials reportedly pulled the plug on the investigation and told the victim’s parents they would refer the case to Lakewood police.
But the law enforcement agency was unable to investigate the matter because it had no jurisdiction.
“The students made up, rehearsed and delivered a false story of ‘boys are boys,’ which the administration was quick to believe, ” said Jeffrey Miller, the prosecution’s attorney. Cleveland.com.
The boy allegedly responsible for the attacks was expelled from school but resumed classes in late September or early October. He was also allowed to remain on track and cross-country teams.
The victim, reportedly suffering from PTSD, vomiting and insomnia as a result of the hazing, retired from St Edward High School in December 2020.
Plaintiff and his family have moved from the area, yet Plaintiff still receives social media and text messages from the offenders and other members of the cross-country team intended to intimidate, harass and / or harass him. humiliate ‘, states the lawsuit.
St Edward officials said in a statement against Fox 8 that the school first learned of the allegations in September 2020 and took immediate action to report the allegations to the police.
“Furthermore, we have taken additional steps to conduct an internal investigation, imposed disciplinary action against those involved where necessary and required mandatory training and education for the involved athletic team,” the statement read. ‘St. Ed’s takes our responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of our students seriously. In this case, as with such claims, we acted quickly to respond and engage in the best interest of our students. ‘