One of the seven Sayreville football players arrested after alleged hazing and sexual assault incidents will file a civil rights suit for damages resulting from his arrest and suspension.
Dylan Thillet was a former football team captain who was arrested along with six teammates after an investigation into the team found possible hazing incidents occurred in the Sayreville High School locker room in September of 2014. Thillet is the first of the seven players to identify himself and plans to sue the school district and the Sayreville Police Department, in addition to other defendants, claiming “significant and irreversible” damages to his reputation and future prospects because of the arrest.
Thillet’s suit comes after one of the alleged victims of the scandal alerted the district of their intent to file a $1.5 million negligence lawsuit against the district.
In Thillet’s notice of intent letter, his lawyer Richard Klein said that there were violations of Thillet’s “state and federal civil and constitutional rights.” Additionally, Klein and Thillet’s other lawyers charge the board of education with a “lack of investigation prior to taking their actions.”
Klein claims that Thillet “continues to be optimistic that he will be exonerated of all charges,” and that Thillet has “professed his innocence” since news of the scandal broke.
Thillet and the six other football players were charged with aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, and criminal restraint following an investigation into the team’s activities and the supervision of the players.
Thillet’s mother Madeline spoke about the allegations against her son at a meeting of the Sayreville Board of Education in October.
“I was at the police state with him when they were questioning him,” she said. “They were talking about a butt being grabbed. That’s about it. No one was hurt. No one died. I don’t understand why they’re being punished. I think that the forfeited game was punishment enough.”
The team’s season was cancelled and several members of the Sayreville High School’s athletic department were disciplined following the charges against the players.
The football team was reinstated in January.