Some older players were also initially charged in the case but those charges have been dropped. According to prosecutors: the varsity players hazed freshman players because they thought that's what coach Michael DiVincenzo wanted. Anthony Ponce reports.
A former Maine West High School soccer coach faces multiple criminal charges following the alleged hazing of players on his team.
Michael Divincenzo, 37, was charged Wednesday with one count of hazing, three counts of battery and four counts of failure to report abuse as mandated, all Class A misdemeanors.
Divincenzo turned himself in to the Des Plaines Police Department Wednesday and was released on a cash bond after processing.
An investigation by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and Des Plaines Police determined that the alleged incidents occurred between June 1, 2012 and September 26, 2012 and involved four male student athletes on the soccer team who were bullied, hazed and assaulted by other male students on the team.
Prosecutors say several players were attacked by older members of the team, including forcibly removing their shorts or pants and poking them in the buttocks with their hands and other objects.
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez says the incidents occured under Divincenzo's supervision and, in some cases, under his direction.
Charges against Six Maine West students who were implicated at the outset of the investigation were dropped.
Chicago lawyer Antonio Romanucci, who represents the plaintiffs in the civil suit, released a statement Wednesday saying that news of the charges "brings no joy to the families whose children were brutally sexually abused while educators stood idly by allowing it to happen."
"It does, however, bring vindication and relief to all those involved that justice is being served and there will be accountability," Romanucci said in the statement.