Victims in La Puente High sexual hazing say there are more attackers
Two boys among several students allegedly attacked as part of a soccer team hazing ritual that involved sexual assault at La Puente High School said they were grabbed in a storage room by as many as 10 older team players and assaulted.
The boys, whose identities and voices were altered, appeared Monday night on Headline News with Dr. Drew Pinsky. One said he was sodomized with a pole; the other said he fought off his attackers. They said that they were attacked by more than the four students who were arrested on suspicion of assault last week.
A coach, who was not named, has been placed on administrative leave.
One boy told host Pinsky that he went to the storage room where they keep soccer equipment and was jumped by 10 players. They asked, "Do you want it the easy way or hard way?" the boy said. He said he tried to run, but was grabbed and sexually assaulted.
The 14-year-old boy said he believes the hazing has been going on for awhile and that the assailants may have also been victims. The boy said he spoke to investigators because he knew his little brother would later attend the school and "I didn't want it to happen to him."
Law enforcement sources, who are not authorized to publicly discuss specifics while the investigation is ongoing, said there is evidence that at least one player was sexually assaulted. In that case, the boy sought medical treatment for his injuries.
A second boy told PInsky he was told to go to the storage room by the coach, but refused. Older boys showed up, told him he was needed in there and "winked " at the coach. He said six or seven boys grabbed him and tried to assault him. He said he was able to escape after fighting furiously, but the boys threatened to assault him later.
The incident allegedly occurred in May. The boys said they did not come forward sooner because they feared they would not be able to play soccer.
The mother of one of the boys told The Times Monday: "I just want justice and my son to be safe. I never thought something so awful could happen here."An attorney who represents both boys and a third alleged victim said the coach knew of the hazing.
"A lawsuit is the only way to get any leverage over the school district and to force it change its ways," said Brian Claypool, who also represents dozens of parents in the Miramonte Elementary School sex abuse case.
The four students were cited and released to their parents last week while prosecutors consider charges. The alleged assaults are believed to have occurred on school grounds and are suspected of being part of a hazing ritual for new players on the Warriors' championship varsity soccer team.
Sheriff's Special Victims Unit detectives, who have interviewed more than 70 people so far, initiated the investigation after a parent of one of the alleged victims contacted authorities. Detectives have identified at least four students, ages 14 and 15, and believe the hazing has been going on for several years, Sgt. Dan Scott said.
There is no evidence at this stage, Scott said, that the coach was present during the alleged attacks; however, his role is being investigated.
Hacienda La Puente Unified School District Supt. Barbara Nakaoka said she is deeply disturbed by the allegations and promised not to "turn a blind eye to reports of harassment or hazing."
— Richard Winton