Sex abuse investigation was part of Lake Zurich hazing probe
Newly released reports show police conducted a sexual abuse investigation while looking into allegations of hazing among members of the Lake Zurich High School football team this fall.
Lake Zurich police, however, ultimately concluded they lacked the evidence to pursue charges against any players, in part due to a lack of cooperation from witnesses, according to documents received through a Daily Herald open-records request.
Inappropriate behavior in the football locker room occurred about a week before a Nov. 5 playoff game against Fenwick High School, according to Lake Zurich Unit District 95. Emails obtained from District 95 referred to the activity as hazing.
Police documents show a criminal sexual abuse investigation officially was launched Nov. 8. Many sections of the documents were blacked out, so it's unclear what specifically might have occurred about 7 p.m. Oct. 27, after a weekly football team dinner at Lake Zurich High.
Chad Beaver, a dean and assistant football coach who remains on paid administrative leave, told high school resource officer Mark Frey that he received information about a "commotion" in the locker room during a weekly bonding tradition involving teammates. The tradition allegedly involves taking a vote on which player should be teased and dressed in costume.
Documents show Lake Zurich police Detective Sgt. Scott Pavlock interviewed head coach David Proffitt on Nov. 29.
Pavlock wrote Proffitt and Athletic Director Rolando Vazquez became aware of "a locker-room incident" on Nov. 2, six days after the date listed on police documents. The report states Beaver was told about the behavior a day after it purportedly occurred.
Proffitt also remains on paid administrative leave, which began just before Fenwick beat the Lake Zurich Bears to end their season. Proffitt is a physical education teacher at the school.
Resistance to the police investigation is described in the documents. Among them was an email sent Nov. 16 by Frey to Lake Zurich Police Chief Steven Husak and other superiors.
"The parents of (a player) are not going to consent to have their child interviewed and would prefer to 'move on,'" Frey wrote. "I have a call into the parents of one witness who was going to talk to their student about being interviewed, but I have not heard back from them regarding their cooperation."
Lake County prosecutor Fred Day alluded to the lack of cooperation in an email he sent Nov. 29 to State's Attorney Michael Nerheim and two other top officials in Nerheim's office.
"The detective (Frey) reached out to the individuals directly involved last week and to date has only heard back from one set of parents," Day wrote.
"None of the potential subjects of the incident have expressed any desire to speak with police though the detective is in the process of reaching out to them again."
Police announced Dec. 9 they had exhausted all available leads in the case without any potential victims coming forward.
Authorities said they began the investigation after the Daily Herald reported all football players were ordered to sign a student behavior agreement before the Fenwick game or be prohibited from playing the rest of the 2016 season. The agreement was part of a letter sent to players and parents.