Alvarez promises top to bottom review of Maine West hazing allegations

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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.

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