New documents filed in a $10 million rape lawsuit show that a black, mentally disabled Idaho high school football player “more likely than not” was raped by three of his white teammates.
The documents were filed last week as part of a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the parents of the alleged victim. The alleged abuse occurred in October 2015 following a football practice at Dietrich (Idaho) High School.
The Dietrich School District made its conclusion in court documents after an investigation last November that involved 30 interviews with football players, coaches and parents. The investigation found “evidence of misconduct among students that (included) sexual harassment, bullying behavior, and sexual assault,” the Twin Falls Times-News reported.
The school district, superintendent, principal, district board members, football coaches, and Jane and John Does 1-10 are defendants in the lawsuit.
Lawyers for the victim’s family submitted the new documents in court to argue they should be granted access to unredacted reports. They received redacted versions from the school district’s lawyers.
“We were given copies of the investigation’s findings, but all the important info — who made the statements, who was there — it’s all been wiped out,” Lee Schlender, an attorney for the plaintiff, told the Times-News. “We told the court, ‘No, no. We’re entitled to get that material because it’s evidence.’ The school district’s attorneys have the entire file in its pure form … We’re just as entitled to those as anyone.”
On Oct. 22, 2015, the alleged victim, who was adopted by a white family, was restrained after a teammate pretended to offer him a hug when another teammate allegedly assaulted him with a coat hanger. In addition to the sexual abuse suffered that day, the alleged victim had faced racial taunts for several months, according to the lawsuit.
John R.K. Howard, 18, and Tanner Ray Ward, 17, were the Dietrich football players charged as adults with felony counts of forcible sexual penetration by the use of a foreign object. Ward’s charge has been amended to a lesser charge, and his case was moved to juvenile court as part of plea negotiations, the Times-News reported. Neither Howard nor Ward were named in the civil lawsuit. A third player was charged as a juvenile.
The amended complaint claims the alleged victim “has suffered and continues to suffer severe emotional distress including depression, fatigue, embarrassment, humiliation and other damages,” the newspaper reported.