Hazing News

Wilson case remains in court; coaches have not filed: Buffalo News

Here is the link to the Buffalo News update on Wilson HS


The coaches filed notices of claim, a mandatory legal preliminary to a lawsuit against a government agency, in September.

“We’re still in discussion with our lawyers,” Atlas said Friday.

Donald Matusik, a Saratoga County attorney retained by Atlas, said he is the family’s attorney but isn’t handling the actual lawsuit. He said that is being done by another Saratoga County lawyer, Gregory S. Mills, who did not return a call seeking comment Friday.

In the Lockport case, the coaches allege that a statement given to the Niagara County district attorney’s office by a city policeman contributed to the decision to arrest them.

However, a source with knowledge of that statement said it is dated Aug. 7, 2008, or 3z months after Atlas and Baia were charged.

Officer Michael J. Stover told The Buffalo News in September that he never spoke to state police, who made the arrests, only to the district attorney’s office.

Stover’s girlfriend lives in Wilson and is the mother of a JV player who reported he was bullied by the varsity players in 2007, a year before the incident that resulted in the arrests.

Lockport Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said the coaches and their wives were questioned in December by attorneys for the city’s insurance company.

Ottaviano said he received a report on that testimony, in which a plaintiff’s attorney said that by identifying himself in his statement as a Lockport police officer, Stover made Lockport liable for his actions.

That’s the reason for the notice of claim against the city, although Ottaviano said the city doesn’t agree with that reasoning.

Stover said last fall he advised his girlfriend to report the 2007 matter to the coaches, and he said he also spoke to Baia about it himself. Ottaviano said Baia denied in his December testimony that he ever talked to Stover about that.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; 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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