Hazing Allegations at South Suburban Football Camp Spark Federal Lawsuit

Although the school district superintendent Mark Mitchell says they have yet to view the lawsuit, he says staff didn't witness the alleged assault.

Disturbing hazing allegations during a football camp at a south suburban high school have now led to a federal lawsuit. The victim’s family says the school district hasn’t done enough to discipline employees and prevent this from happening to someone else.

Anthony Brookman, 15, was attending a summer 2017 football camp at Reed-Custer High School in Braidwood— until his mother said her son landed in the hospital.

"He was looking for that starlight stardom that football players have in high school," Allison Brookman said of her son. 

"(He had) bruises, scrapes," she said. "His clothing torn, underwear stretched."

The Will County state’s attorney’s office says three juveniles were charged with aggravated battery.

The Brookman’s filed this federal lawsuit Wednesday morning against the Reed-Custer School District 255 demanding a trial by jury.

School district superintendent Mark Mitchell says says staff didn't witness the alleged assault.

"We unequivocally deny the plaintiffs’ allegations that School District officials 'were aware of, or tacitly acknowledged, a culture of abuse, hazing, bullying and assault' toward the individual; that hazing has been 'part of the culture of the Reed-Custer Football Team for years;' and that 'coaches have either sanctioned these rituals or turned a blind eye toward them,'" the district said in a statement. "We intend to vigorously defend these baseless allegations and protect the reputation of our fine School District and its staff."

John Risvold, the Brookman's attorney, said the school hasn't done enough.

"If they took care of the kids they were supposed to protect, we wouldn’t be here," he said.

Allison Brookman says she just wants to know her son is loved.

"He needs to know he’s cared about enough," she said. "He’s worth fighting for, that it’s not okay to have this happen and not have anything done."

According to the school district, the head football coach at the time of the incident resigned from that position five months after the school was made aware of the allegations. But the superintendent points out they have no evidence it was a result of the hazing allegations.

The three juveniles charged will be back in court for a trial date in January.

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