Dist. 207 to hire investigator in wake of hazing allegations

Updated 1/7/2013 10:03 PM

The Maine Township High School District 207 school board Monday night directed the district's counsel to draft an agreement with an independent investigator to look into allegations of hazing at Maine West High School.

The board will hire the investigating legal firm at a special meeting later this month, school board President Sean Sullivan said.

Sullivan added that the investigation's scope will not be limited.

The school board last month fired Maine West's head boys varsity soccer coach Michael Divincenzo after allegations of hazing of freshman players by senior members of the soccer team surfaced in September. The allegations led to a lawsuit being filed against the school district, Maine West, the school's administration, coaches and staff by four current and former students.

Two 14-year-old freshman members of the varsity boys soccer team claim they were sexually assaulted inside the school on Sept. 26 as part of a hazing ritual, according to police. Five juveniles were subsequently charged with misdemeanor battery, and a sixth juvenile was charged after police uncovered evidence of another attack that they say occurred during a summer soccer camp. The Cook County state's attorney's office is reviewing the charges.

Divincenzo has appealed the school board's decision with the Illinois State Board of Education and requested an administrative hearing on the matter, according to his attorney. The appeal process could take up to a year.

Freshman soccer coach Emilio Rodriguez also has been banned from school premises and relieved of coaching duties. Rodriguez, a teacher in the applied arts and technology department, and three other coaches have been reassigned with pay.

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