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Article updated: 10/15/2013 5:56 PM

December trial set for former Maine West coach in hazing case

By Christopher Placek

A jury trial has been set for December in the case of a former Maine West High School soccer coach accused of allowing hazing among his players.

Michael Divincenzo, 37, is scheduled to face trial Dec. 17 on misdemeanor charges of hazing, battery and failure to report abuse stemming from a hazing scandal that cost him and an assistant coach their jobs and led to multiple lawsuits against Maine Township High School District 207.

A Cook County judge set the trial date Tuesday morning during a court appearance by Divincenzo. Afterward, Divincenzo attorney Thomas Breen questioned prosecutors' evidence against his client.

"I've looked at all the (pretrial) discovery and have yet to see why he's being charged with all this," Breen said.

Divincenzo, an Elk Grove Village resident, did not speak during his court appearance.

The Cook County state's attorney's office filed charges against Divincenzo in May as it dropped charges against six juveniles after a five-month investigation into the hazing claims.

Authorities launched the investigation last fall after two 14-year-old freshmen on the Maine West varsity boys soccer team said they had been sexually assaulted by seniors inside the Des Plaines school as part of a hazing ritual.

A lawsuit later filed alleged instances of hazing of a freshman baseball player and three freshman soccer players dating back to 2007, naming as defendants District 207, the school's principal and soccer coaches Divincenzo and Emilio Rodriguez. The suit was dismissed Tuesday, but the plaintiffs plan to re-file the litigation.

The criminal charges against Divincenzo are based on events that were reported to have occurred between June 1 and Sept. 26 last year. If found guilty, he would face a maximum sentence of up to a year in jail.

Breen said Tuesday he would expect a jury trial to last two to three days.

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