Maine West Hazing Probe Cost District $115,000

Saturday, Jul 6, 2013  |  Updated 1:15 PM CDT
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Former Soccer Coach Charged In Hazing Case

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Attorneys: Coach Charged in Hazing Case 'Did Nothing Wrong'

A coach fired over a hazing scandal says he is completely lost without his job. And today he faced a judge. Marion Brooks reports.

Former Soccer Coach Charged In Hazing Case

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.
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An investigation into a hazing incident at Maine West High School has cost the district nearly $115,000, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

An internal investigation reportedly determined the employees handled the scandal appropriately after the incident caught fire last September.

The district enlisted attorney Sergio Acosta in January to address the allegations that male student athletes on the school’s soccer team were bullied, hazed and assaulted by other male students on the team after two coaches were fired for allegedly permitting the acts, the Sun-Times reported.

From Jan. 25 through the end of February, Acosta’s firm, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, reportedly charged the school district nearly $74,000 for about 352 hours of work and other expenses.

From March to May, the firm charged the district $41,131 for around 197 hours of work.

Acosta’s report, released in May, said staff members “conducted themselves properly” after accusations first broke out. It also said they detected “no effort on the part of these staff members to in any way cover up the alleged incident or influence any of the witnesses.”

The report did not include the factual findings and related legal conclusions due to the pending civil, criminal and personnel proceedings.

The team’s coach, Michael Divincenzo, was charged in May with three counts of battery and four counts of failure to report abuse as mandated, all class A misdemeanors.

Attorneys for the former coach say he did nothing wrong.

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 occurred under Divincenzo's supervision and, in some cases, under his direction.

But defense attorney Tom Breen said Monday he’s not certain the hazing events even happened and if they did, Divincenzo was not present.

“What occurred has been exaggerated to the point of almost disbelief,” he said. “As far as hazing is concerned I don’t think there was hazing, or at least it wasn’t brought to [Divincenzo's] attention.”
 

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