High School Football Team Accused of Sexual Assault on 2 Freshmen in Locker Room

Some members of a high school football team are accused of sexually assaulting two freshmen in a locker room, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday by the boys' parents, the Associated Press reported.

The lawsuit, which names three football coaches and the school district, alleges that the teen boys were sexually assaulted as part of a hazing tradition by older players at the Plainfield Central High School in suburban Chicago, and that three adult coaches were aware of the practice.

Attorney Antonio M. Romanucci said in a statement that the parents sought to hold the coaches accountable for not intervening.

"The dreadful experience suffered by these two teenage boys is horrifying, not only because it was physically and emotionally traumatizing, but also because it was completely preventable," Romanucci said. "Coaches were aware of these gruesome hazing traditions and looked the other way, allowing it to happen."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Football Locker Room
Members of a high school football team in Illinois is accused of sexually assaulting two freshmen in a locker room, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by the boys' parents. The lawsuit alleges that the coaches were aware of the practice but did nothing to stop it. Getty Images

In the lawsuit, the parents contend that on October 17, 2019, the older boys surrounded their sons, pinned them to the ground and assaulted them with a broomstick with such force that it broke.

The parents, who are identified only as Jane and John Doe A and Jane and John Doe B, say no coaches were in the locker room at the time of the alleged assault, but that they knew what was going on.

The lawsuit says coaches at the school had, for at least five years, "recognized the term 'Code Blue' to refer to the custom, tradition, or practice of senior members of the Plainfield Central Varsity Football Team assaulting Freshmen members of the team in a sexual manner" and that the three coaches knew about it long before the alleged incident.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. It also seeks "an injunction to stop the practice of hazing, train coaches and students on the dangers of hazing and bullying, assign a peer monitor to the school to track its compliance, and to establish a database in District 202 for hazing and bullying complaints," according to a news release from Romanucci's office.

Thomas Hernandez, a spokesman for Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202, said the district has received the lawsuit and its attorneys are examining it. But he declined to comment, saying the district does not discuss pending litigation.

The three men identified as the coaches in the lawsuit—Michael Moderhack, Jon Pereiro and Vincent Vasquez—could not be reached for comment. Moderhack, Pereiro and the athletic director did not respond to emails requesting comment, and the school principal did not immediately return a call.

Plainfield is about 38 miles (60 kilometers) southwest of Chicago.