Coach cleared of charges in hazing scandal: ‘I’m just very grateful’

A former northwest suburban soccer coach was found not guilty in a high profile hazing scandal.

Michael Divincenzo was found not guilty Wednesday on charges of hazing, battery and failure to report child sexual abuse  related to a soccer team hazing scandal at Maine West High School in Des Plaines.

“It’s very hard. I just really appreciate that I have such great people behind me. Thank you,” Divincenzo said.

The 37-year-old former soccer coach was overwhelmed after his acquittal thanking fellow teachers and former players for their support.

“I’m just very grateful,” he said.

Divincenzo was charged in connection to hazing between male soccer players at the high school that came to light in fall of 2012. The hazing involved younger boys being sexually assaulted during iniation rituals.

Most parents and students at Maine West refused to speak with WGN.

The attorney representing five of the victims in a civil suit against Divincenzo says the acquittal will not impact their case.

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