Members of the Lake Zurich High School football team routinely used sexual assault and acts of degradation to haze teammates while coaches and administrators ignored the abuse, according to a federal lawsuit filed by two alleged victims.
Antonio Romanucci, a Chicago attorney representing two former members of the 2016 football team, said the hazing goes back at least 20 years and remained hidden because of ” ‘Lord of the Flies’-type tactics” that kept participants and victims quiet.
“They were brutally mocked, teased, humiliated, embarrassed and emotionally harmed, all in the name of team bonding,” Romanucci said at a Wednesday news conference.
The lawsuit adds another act to a drama that has played out since two Lake Zurich football coaches were placed on administrative leave for unstated reasons before a November playoff game.
Broadly speaking, though, the lawsuit alleges some players have urinated on other members of the team, slapped them in the face with their genitals and forced teammates to perform oral sex on each other. Debasing acts have been part of a tradition known as “(Expletive) of the Week,” in which the names of targets were written on a prominently mounted locker room whiteboard, the lawsuit claims.
“(Social) pressure and bullying at such events is so severe that even unwilling participants are forced to take part in acts that are assaultive, illegal and often sexual in nature,” according to the lawsuit.