LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WJW) — A former student has filed a lawsuit against St. Edward High School, claiming a former teammate assaulted him on several occasions.
According to the suit, the 17-year-old claims that before, during and after his enrollment at St. Ed’s, he was “subjected to physical and sexual assaults, harassment, hazing, bullying and retaliation
from other students associated with the track and cross-country teams.”
The lawsuit says some of the alleged incidents happened in July of 2019 when the student attended a week-long, overnight running camp in the summer before his freshman year with older students from the high school. “Over the course of the camp, the plaintiff was physically assaulted in a sexual manner by a student of St. Edward High School on three separate occasions,” the lawsuit states.
In another alleged incident, at a team-sponsored pre-meet dinner, the teammate is accused of following the plaintiff into the bathroom, throwing him to the floor, pinning his arms and simulating a sex act on him.
The lawsuit states “out of fear and intimidation, the plaintiff did not report this assault.”
According to the lawsuit, another alleged incident happened during an overnight multi-day meet when the cross-country team traveled to Dayton. In that incident, the lawsuit states several students when into the plaintiff’s room, one of them pinned and held him face down “so that he could not fight or escape.” That teammate then allegedly “physically assaulted Plaintiff in a sexual manner…”
The lawsuit states none of the other students intervened; one of them filmed the alleged assault. That video was then reportedly shared among teammates. “The video was shared for the purpose of humiliating and intimidating Plaintiff and to prevent him from reporting the assault,” according to the suit.
The plaintiff’s parents met with the school in 2020 about the allegations. The lawsuit states:
From September 19, 2020 through September 23, 2020, Plaintiff and his parents
repeatedly and specifically informed Defendants that the assaults, the lack of any
investigation, the continuing harassment and intimidation, and the dereliction of duty
by Defendants was causing worsening physical injuries to Plaintiff who was
vomiting, suffering insomnia, and otherwise suffering from post-traumatic stress
The teammate accused of attacking the student was reportedly suspended from school but at that time “students were permitted to complete school online.” Another student was reportedly suspended for three days after admitting to doctoring the video of the alleged assault.
FOX 8 received the following statement from St. Ed’s in response to the lawsuit:
“St. Edward High School (St. Ed’s) has received and is reviewing a lawsuit filed involving our school and a situation that occurred in 2019. While we cannot provide details on pending legal matters and must protect the privacy of our students, it is important to know that we did not learn of these concerns until September 2020.
“When we did, we took immediate action to report to the authorities what was believed to have occurred as we are required to do by law. Further, we took additional steps to conduct an internal investigation, imposed disciplinary actions as appropriate against those involved, and required mandatory training and education for the athletic team involved.
“St. Ed’s takes our responsibility for the safety and well-being of our students seriously. In this case, as with any such claims, we acted swiftly to engage and respond in the best interests of our students.”