An attorney announced today that he will file suit against La Puente High School and the Hacienda La Puente School District on behalf of four boys who he alleges were sexually abused by older members of the varsity soccer team "at the behest and encouragement" of the coach.
The Special Victims bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said, meanwhile, that it has interviewed more than 70 students about the allegations, which involve hazing, and arrested four, who were released to their parents. One is reportedly 18, while the others are juveniles.
"The hazing incidents have gone on for several years and may have risen to the level of a crime," Sgt. Al Fraijo of the Special Victims Bureau said in a statement. "At this point there is no information to indicate that any member of faculty or coaching staff were directly involved."
Attorney Brian Claypool alleges "hazing and sexual abuse and assaults" were carried out by team members against players "who just made the varsity team." He said he is representing four alleged victims.
Claypool said the team's "teacher/soccer coach lured young boys to a back room to facilitate varsity members of the team sexually assaulting the boys by attempting to sodomize them with a foreign object."
The hazing allegedly occurred next to the coach's office, and "the school knew or should have known that these horrific acts were being carried out on school grounds," Claypool said. He charged that "school officials are attempting to cover up the ongoing 'hazing' incidents."
HLPSD Superintendent Barbara Nakaoka today described the allegations as sad and said the district had requested the sheriff's investigation. The district, she said, is committed to providing a safe environment for students. Officials urged anyone with information regarding the alleged hazing and sexual assaults to contact the sheriff's Department Special Victims Bureau at (877) 710-LASD.