Sexual hazing allegations rock high school soccer program
Allegations that La Puente High School soccer players sexually hazed younger players involved the use of sticks, law enforcement sources said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Special Victims Unit launched the investigation after one player complained to authorities, law enforcement sources said.
The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing, said detectives were checking reports that older players had been hazing junior players for years.Detectives said they have no information that faculty or coaching staff were directly involved with the incidents, which allegedly involved an unknown number of 14- and 15-year-old boys.
The department did not divulge any details of the alleged incidents, but in a news release said the hazing had gone on for several years and "may have risen to the level of a crime." The probe is being conducted by the Special Victims Bureau, which handles investigations of child sexual and physical abuse.
Anyone with relevant information should call the bureau hotline at (877) 710-5273.
School officials express shock about the allegations. "The school district takes this very seriously," Hacienda La Puente Unified School District board president Joseph Chang told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Sunday, adding the district called authorities several weeks ago when it first heard about the allegations.
--Richard Winton and Bettina Boxall
Photo: Exterior of La Puente High School. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times