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updated: 7/11/2014 7:13 PM

Former Maine West coach sues to get his job back

Hearing officer upheld ouster by Dist. 207

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A former Maine West soccer coach connected to a 2012 hazing scandal is suing Maine Township High School District 207 over his firing.

Emilio Rodriguez has been formally dismissed by the school board twice, and his firing was upheld by an independent hearing officer.

Now, he's going to Cook County circuit court to appeal for his job.

"We are aware that Mr. Rodriguez has exercised his right to request an administrative review, which is an option available to him under Illinois law," Dave Beery, a spokesman for District 207, said Friday.

Rodriguez filed the suit against the school district earlier this week. Neither he nor his attorney could be reached for comment.

Rodriguez was hired as a full-time teacher in 2005 and became the freshman soccer coach in 2012.

He was dismissed in January 2013 after allegations came to light that two 14-year-old freshman members of the varsity boys soccer team were sexually assaulted by their older teammates as part of a hazing ritual.

Hearing officer Jules I. Crystal wrote in a 62-page report in April that Rodriguez had a "deliberate indifference" to reports from freshman soccer players that two teammates had been hazed. Rodriguez, Crystal wrote, "knew, or should have taken steps to know, what had happened."

In June, the school board again voted to dismiss Rodriguez, citing in a resolution that "remediable cause exists" for his termination based on the hearing officer's recommendation.

A lawsuit brought by five current and former students against Rodriguez and former varsity soccer coach Michael Divincenzo, the school district, Maine West and the school's principal, is pending.

Divincenzo, who also was fired by the school district, was acquitted in January by a Cook County judge on charges of hazing and misdemeanor battery.

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