la vernia hazing

La Vernia Football Players Arrested For Allegedly Sodomizing Teammates


Nine students, seven juvenile and two 18-year olds (Robert Olivarez Jr. and Dustin Norman) of La Vernia High School (East of San Antonio) were arrested yesterday in connection with sexual assault of members of the school football, basketball, and baseball teams.

The alleged incidents occurred between 2015 thru this year with ten victims so far who have been identified. Several La Vernia graduates have reportedly been named as persons of interest, leading most to believe that more victims will be identified and more arrests will most likely be made in the next coming months.

The Daily Beast was able to acquire more details of the alleged incidents via affidavits of the two 18-year olds who were arrested:

According to affidavits filed in the arrests of the two 18-year-olds, the men are accused of holding down a 16-year-old who was moving from Junior Varsity to Varsity football, and sexually assaulting the teen as part of an initiation in November 2016. The four involved players, who were at a home off-campus, allegedly shouted “Get him!” and held the 16-year-old victim face down on a bed while sodomizing him with the threaded end of a carbon-dioxide tank. “The victim struggled to stop the assault, but was overpowered by the four suspects and pinned down where he could not move,” wrote La Vernia police Sgt. Donald Keil, in the affidavit.

A mother of a student further described other incidents that allegedly occurred within the athletics department:

Details are few where minors are involved, but one mother speaking to local media described the alleged assaults: “Kids were holding them down in the locker rooms, there was a lookout at the door watching for coaches not to come. They hold them down and stick various items up their rectum… including Coke bottles, deodorant bottles, steel pipes, baseball bats, and broomsticks.

La Vernia’s Athletic Director and head football coach Chris Taber released a statement on the district’s athletics Facebook page stating, “It is important that our students feel safe, and we will continue to implement measures providing additional safety and security for all students.”

The atmosphere among the students in the district is surprising, however, as most students are reportedly siding with the alleged perpetrators:

“Some kids, mostly athletes, are calling the victims ‘rats and snitches,’” he said, noting that most of the alleged victims have remained anonymous. “A lot of people are saying they feel bad for [the accused], that they didn’t do anything too extreme.”

It goes without saying, and as cliche as it sounds, football in La Vernia is life. They’re the prototypical Friday Night Lights kind of small Texas town that glorifies it’s sports and the students who participate. Clearly, this incident is already drawing a line in the sand between their beloved athletes and the reality of due process for both the suspects and the alleged victims.

Hazing in athletic programs isn’t new. It’s been thirteen years since Donna High’s infamous hazing incidents involving the 2004 Donna football team and a quick Google search of “football hazing” will get you countless hits of incidents all around country.

The students arrested most likely face charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first degree felony, and a minimum of five years imprisonment if found guilty.

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