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Article updated: 4/2/2013 5:11 AM

Coach in Maine West hazing scandal drops appeal of dismissal

By Sara Hooker

A soccer coach in the middle of the hazing scandal at Maine West High School has agreed to a drop a hearing to dispute his dismissal.

In turn, the district will follow through with hiring an attorney to represent Michael Divincenzo, who has been suspended without pay while the district pursued dismissal.

School board members announced the agreement in a statement read at Monday night's school board meeting.

"One element is that the district continues to pay and provides health coverage to a certain day," said David Beery, Maine Township High School District 207 spokesman. "The two parties will cooperate in defending the lawsuit."

The agreement formalizes Divincenzo's exit from the district and will ultimately save the district money, officials said.

Had Divincenzo continued his request to appeal his dismissal, hearings conducted by the Illinois State Board of Education could stretch on for months -- possibly more than a year, Beery said.

Both Divincenzo and former freshman soccer coach Emilio Rodriguez have been suspended without pay while the dismissal process has taken its course.

In September, two 14-year-old freshman members of the varsity boys soccer team said they were sexually assaulted inside the school as part of a hazing ritual, police said.

Since, six juveniles have been charged with misdemeanor battery. Additionally, a lawsuit alleging instances of hazing dating back to 2007 has been filed against the district, the school's principal and both coaches.

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