Trial begins for coach in high school hazing case

The trial for former Maine West soccer coach Michael Divincenzo began today after his players allegedly hazed freshmen athletes at the school.

Divincenzo’s role in the suspected hazing remains a question.

Divincenzo could have pled guilty and received probation but he wanted a judge to decide the case in hopes of clearing his name.

Divincenzo, who lost his job after the alleged incident, has been charged with misdemeanor counts of hazing, battery and failing to report abuse. Assistant State’s Attorney Margaret Ogarek said coaches are supposed to be advisers, and Divincenzo’s alleged failure to contact authorities after he learned of the abuse represented a betrayal of trust.

Defense attorney Todd Pugh’s opening statement did not address Divencenzo’s alleged failure to report. Pugh said, though, that the ex-coach did not see the alleged abuse, and when he heard about it, punished those responsible.

Attorneys said the trial could last through Thursday.

 

-Chicago Tribune contributed to this report

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