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Alleged sex abuse may be part of years-long soccer hazing pattern

September 26, 2012 |  8:02 am

La Puente hazing
L.A. County sheriffs investigators say the alleged sexual hazing of boys on the La Puente High School soccer team may be the latest in a long string of similar incidents.

Detectives are investigating the latest case, when a boy on the soccer team was allegedly sodomized in a storage area last spring. So far, four teenage boys have been arrested on suspicion of assault for their alleged roles in the hazing.

Authorities said they were investigating whether more suspects were involved. Two of the victims appeared on Headline News with Dr. Drew Pinsky and alleged that as many as 10 older team players were involved in the attacks.

One boy told Pinsky 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 some time and that the suspects may have also been victims.

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

A coach has been placed on administrative leave by the school district. Authorities do not have any evidence at this stage that he was present during any of the attacks, but they were investigating his role in the alleged incidents.

Detectives believe the hazing has been going on for several years, Sgt. Dan Scott said.


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Photo: Manuel Maldonado, a parent, listens to details of the alleged sexual hazing of boys on the soccer team at La Puente High School. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times