Lawsuit filed over hazing at suburban high school that led to criminal charges

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BRAIDWOOD, Ill. — A federal lawsuit filed against officials of a suburban Chicago school district alleges their failure to end a culture of hazing in a high school football team led to a sexual assault.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday against Reed-Custer Community Unit School District 255 in Braidwood claims a freshman was sexually assaulted during a hazing ritual in July 2017. It alleges district staff then inadequately responded to the incident.

The lawsuit contends hazing has been “part of the culture of the Reed-Custer football Team for years.” It adds coaches have either sanctioned or “turned a blind eye toward them.”

Will County state’s attorney’s office spokesman Charles Pelkie says three teens were charged as juveniles with aggravated battery. Their trial is set for Jan. 4.

District 255 Superintendent Mark Mitchell told the Chicago Tribune he hasn’t seen a copy of the lawsuit. However, he says the district handled the situation appropriately.

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