An attorney for the former Maine West High School soccer coach fired amidst a hazing scandal is questioning whether any hazing actually took place.
Former coach Michael DiVincenzo appeared for a status hearing today in Cook County Court in Skokie, where he let his attorney do all the talking.
Attorney Thomas Breen says the ex-coach feels lost. He says when the hype and hysteria die down, it will be clear his client is a good person and was a good coach.
Last month DiVincenzo turned himself in and was released on his own recognizance.
Today his defense team asked Cook County prosecutors to turn over up to 10,000 pages of documents and video in their case against the ex-Maine West High School soccer coach.
DiVincenzo is charged with hazing, battery, and failing to report abuse. Prosecutors claim the hazing led to the sexual assaults of at least three soccer players and a baseball player.
In a civil lawsuit filed against Maine Township High School District 207, those students claim the coach knew about the hazing, allowed it to continue, and did nothing to stop it.
DiVincenzo’s lawyers maintain he did nothing wrong.
“He never condoned any of this conduct. He did not know about this conduct,” attorney Thomas Breen told reporters today. “When there was a hint that something occurred, he’d discipline those involved. But what occurred has been exaggerated to the point of almost disbelief on our part.”
“These are minors and children involved, and they look up to adults to know when to believe what the right thing is,” said attorney Rebekah Williams, who represents the students in the civil suit. “And in this case, he didn’t do the right thing in our opinion.”
DiVincenzo was fired over the allegations. His attorney says there was horseplay between players, but he questions whether any hazing actually took place.
DiVincenzo returns to court in August.