Story Summary

Maine West hazing incident

The mother of a freshman at Maine West High School in northwest suburban Des Plaines are suing the Maine Township School District over an alleged hazing incident. The lawsuit claims the teen was beaten and sexually assaulted by older players in September. The school confirms that a hazing incident did occur at the school in 2008 but no other details have been released.

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This story has 10 updates

The Maine West High School coach, who was fired in connection with a hazing scandal, has filed for an appeal.

An attorney for Michael Divincenzo sent a letter Thursday  to the Illinois State Board of Education requesting a hearing

The Maine Township District 207 School Board voted last month to suspend Divincenzo without pay while they moved to fire him.

Four students, who claim teammates sexually assaulted them during the hazing, are suing the school, school board, and Divincenzo.

Divincenzo, a former freshman baseball coach and head boys and girls varsity soccer coach, denied to police knowledge of hazing or initiation rituals among team members, according to Des Plaines police reports.

A tenured physical education teacher, Divincenzo is in his 11th year at Maine West. The appeal process could take a year or more to resolve, according to school officials.

A student who says he was the victim of a hazing incident at Maine West High School shared his story with WGN.

The young man’s identity was not revealed for TV cameras in order to protect his identity.

But he was one of four ball  players at Maine West who filed a lawsuit against coaches and staff for allegedly allowing team members to be beaten and sexually assaulted by older soccer players as part of hazing at the school.

Identified in the lawsuit as John Doe C, the victim has said he was assaulted twice by older soccer players in the summer of 2007.

That was the year he had successfully tried out for a spot on the Maine West varsity soccer team.

John Doe C alleges that coaches who were on campus during the hazing ritual, knew about the hazing but did nothing to stop it.

Though John Doe C stayed at Maine West after the assault, he said the attack ruined his high school experience.

He subsequently quit the soccer team and other sports activities.

One of the coaches linked to hazing allegations at Maine West High School has been suspended without pay.

School board members voted unanimously Wednesday night to dismiss varsity soccer coach Michael Divincenzo.

The board found that he failed to prevent, report, and punish student hazing.

A lawsuit claims that Divincenzo and Coach Emilio Rodriguez both knew that older players with sexually assaulting younger ones during hazing rituals.

Divincenzo has 17-days to request a hearing on his dismissal.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez is promising a thorough investigation of the Maine West High School hazing case.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez is promising a thorough investigation of the Maine West High School hazing case.

In their initial assessment of the case prosecutors decided that there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges.  But new allegations have prompted the Cook County State’s Attorney to take a closer look.

“We’re under the understanding that there were some incidents back in 2007, so I thought it was best to just do a full review on everything,” Alvarez said today.

Alvarez has assigned her Sex Crimes Division to the case.  She says her investigators will conduct a top to bottom review of the allegations.

So far ten Maine West High School students have been disciplined by District 207 supervisors and two soccer coaches are relieved of their duties and have been reassigned pending the results of the investigation.

Head boys and girls soccer coach Michael Divincenzo and assistant Emilio Rodriguez are no longer on the Maine campus, according to District 207 spokespeople.  The coaches are accused of sanctioning a hazing culture at the northwest suburban high school.  Divincenzo or Rodriguez have yet to comment on the allegations.

A lawsuit brought by a parent alleges that the hazing escalated to sexual assault.  Three soccer players and a freshman baseball player are said to have been victimized by fellow students.

Alvarez says she is surprised and alarmed to hear the hazing reports despite all of the high profile hazing cases in recent years and all of the education to discourage hazing.

“I have children who are all athletes, and just the idea that anybody would be abusing them in any way, you know, the hazing — it’s not funny, it’s not fun and it’s not necessary,” Alvarez told reporters.

A District 207 spokesman says that administrators stand ready to cooperate with the investigators.  The attorney representing the parent of one of the students who was allegedly abused says he is pleased to see the State’s Attorney taking action.

Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez is now investigating the accusations of hazing at Maine West High School.

The Dept of Children & Family services asked Cook County prosecutors yesterday to investigate the case.

The states attorney’s sex crimes division opened its investigation today.

Alvarez promises a thorough investigation.

Four Maine West athletes have filed a lawsuit alleging that players on the boys soccer and baseball teams were physically and sexually abused by teammates.

The Department of Children and Family Services is asking Cook County prosecutors to investigate the Maine West High School hazing case.

DCFS wants the State’s Attorney’s office to look into allegations that school district employees knew about alleged hazing as early as 2007 and determine if they violated a state law.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of four Maine West athletes alleges players on the boys soccer and baseball teams were physically and sexually assaulted by teammates.

Six players are charged in the case two soccer coaches are on paid leave.

Police in northwest suburban Des Plaines police say they sought felony charges in a hazing incident at Maine West High School, but prosecutors turned them down.

Six teenagers have been charged with misdemeanors from an incident in September, where three soccer players said they were sodomized as part of an initiation.

The state’s attorney’s office said they didn’t have enough evidence at the time, to warrant a felony.

They may reconsider after a lawsuit was filed, alleging a pattern of hazing incidents at the school dating back to 2007.

Allegations of sexual assault and sodomy on freshman sports teams is growing at Maine West High School in northwest suburban Des Plaines.

Last week one former student filed a law suit claiming fellow soccer players attacked and sodomized him as a freshman. Today, three more former student athletes joined that civil suit.

3 soccer players and one baseball player, all freshman, claim they were sexually assaulted by team mates as part of a hazing ritual. They are filling suit they say because the coaches and the school not only knew about it, but they allowed it. The school district now accused of covering it up.

A woman, disguised to protect her son’s identity, spoke at a news conference Wednesday and said in 200,8 her son was sodomized as a freshman.  Fellow team mates on the baseball team attacked him, she says. She reported it to the school in a letter that year, then transferred her son elsewhere. She went to the principal on November 16th of 2012 when other stories of sexual assault by Maine West team mates surfaced at the school.

She says her son is scarred forever.

School officials say they contacted the appropriate agencies once they were made aware of the allegations. They also launched an internal investigation to identify those involved and take appropriate disciplinary action.

Michael Devencenzo, one of the Maine West Coaches as well as another coach Emilio Rodriguez  have been reassigned with pay, according to the school. They are not teaching in the classroom until the school’s investigation is complete.

More families are joining a lawsuit against the Maine Township School District claiming they were victims of hazing.

Last week, the mother of one teen filed a lawsuit claiming her son was beaten and sexually assaulted by older players in September.

Several more current and former athletes have since come forward, though it’s not known how many will join the ongoing lawsuit.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, attorneys say they will provide proof school officials have known about hazing rituals since at least 2008.

School officials say they contacted the appropriate agencies once they were made aware of the allegations.

They also launched an internal investigation to identify those involved and take appropriate disciplinary action.

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