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Coach aided in soccer team sexual hazing, attorney claims

September 24, 2012 | 11:49 am

La Puente high school

This post has been corrected. See below for details.

A La Puente High School soccer coach aided in the hazing and sexual assault of four young soccer players and helped lure them into an athletic storage room, an attorney for three of the alleged victims contended.

[For the record, Sept. 24, 12:01 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said that the attorney represented two of the alleged victims and that the teens were arrested over the summer. They were arrested Friday.]

Attorney Brian Claypool said the coach told the victims to go into an athletic storage room, where they were "jumped" by four older soccer players and penetrated by "a javelin-like pole."

"The coach told them to go in the room," Claypool said. "Once inside, four big players pushed them down from behind. My guys fought like crazy. And when they got out, one said he saw the teacher wink at the senior player who attacked him."

Claypool said the coach did not participate in the assault, but "he knew."

"He is at least guilty of aiding in a sexual assault," Claypool said.

The mother of one of the alleged victims, a 15-year-old boy, said she learned of the assault after another boy was hospitalized. "It's terrible for our family."

The coach has been placed on administrative leave, Hacienda La Puente Unified Supt. Barbara Nakaoka said at a press conference Monday morning. Sheriff's officials said they are investigating the coach in connection to the victims' allegations.

Authorities said Monday that four students at La Puente High School were arrested Friday on suspicion of assault, which allegedly occurred in May.

"This is deeply disturbing to me and the entire community," Nakaoka said. "We do not and will not turn a blind eye to reports of harassment or hazing."

Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators said all four students were cited and released in the summer. Sgt. Dan Scott said the district attorney's office is reviewing the cases. Scott said the sheriff's Special Victims Unit is investigating whether any adults were involved.

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— Richard Winton

Photo: Parents picket outside La Puente High School on Monday morning. Credit: Richard Winton / Los Angeles Times

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