Reports of hazing at Maine West High School are not just a recent development.
Maine Township school district officials released a statement saying they recently learned of a 2008 hazing incident on the school's baseball team coached by the same man accused of looking the other way in an alleged incident this year involving the sexual assault of a 14-year-old soccer player.
The coach, Michael Divincenzo, has been reassigned with pay pending the investigation into the recent incident.
District officials say a parent of the alleged victim of the 2008 hazing brought it to their attention on November 16 of this year. Four baseball players were accused of pulling down a teammate's pants in the locker room, and the students involved were disciplined at the school level.
"I don't know that it's been covered up, but certainly somebody's been turning a blind eye to is," said attorney Antonio Romanucci. "To come out and say that they just found out about a 2008 incident, four and a half years after it happened, in timing with another lawsuit that was filed, that's quite egregious."
District superintendent Ken Wallace says the proper agencies have been notified about the 2008 incident and an internal investigation has been launched.
The mother of a 14-year-old freshman filed a lawsuit last week claiming he was held down by older members of the soccer team and sexually assaulted on the field Sept. 27 after being promoted to the varsity team. The alleged assault took place on school grounds during school hours. Six Maine West students have been charged as juveniles with battery and hazing while four other players have been disciplined by the school. Five soccer coaches have either been reassigned or removed as police continue to investigate the incident.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times the parents involved in the 2008 baseball hazing are represented by Antonio Romanucci, the same lawyer who filed the lawsuit for the recent soccer hazing. Romanucci told the newspaper that the hazing should have been stopped a long time ago.