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Donna in court

Link and excerpt:

Former Donna player sues school district over hazing

Jeremy Roebuck
September 11, 2007 – 10:24PM
DONNA — Former Donna High School football coach David Evans can’t seem to shake the hazing scandal that cost him his job there more than two years ago.

On Monday, one of the team’s former players filed suit against him and the school district in federal court, claiming they fostered a culture of “deliberate indifference” that led to the attempted sexual assault of four younger players at the hands of older teammates.

The lawsuit, which also names suspended Superintendent Joe D. Gonzalez as a defendant, comes less than a month after Evans declared the 2005 fiasco behind him and returned to the sidelines as head coach of Valley View High School’s football team.

The former player and his mother, who is also named as a plaintiff in the case, declined comment Tuesday when reached at their Donna home.

It is The Monitor’s policy not to identify victims of sexual assault. The name of the former player’s mother has also been withheld to protect his identity.

“The administration has a duty to protect the students,” said Ronald Rodriguez, a Laredo-based attorney representing the former player and his mother. “These coaches failed my client and others in failing to protect them from sexual assault.”

The lawsuit does not set forth a specific dollar figure for the damages being sought, but it does list “punitive” damages as one of its objectives.

2004-05

Reports of the brutal attacks in the team’s locker room showers surfaced near the end of the 2004 season.

By March 2005, the freshman players had accused four upperclassmen of holding them down and trying to shove gloved fingers into their anuses.

All four upperclassmen — including the team’s former star quarterback, Derick Castillo — were later indicted on attempted sexual assault charges. Each has since pleaded guilty to lesser charges or arranged separate punishments with prosecutors.

By the end of the 2004-05 school year, the Donna school board had fired Evans, as well as assistant varsity football coach Alfredo Holguin Jr. and head freshman football coach Robert D. Gracia for allegedly interfering with the subsequent investigation.

Holguin and Gracia are also named in the former player’s lawsuit, along with Donna High School Principal Fernando Castillo and Assistant Principal Celestino Avila Jr.
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By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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