According to the Washington Post, three white high school football players from Dietrich, Idaho have been charged with the sexual assault of a disabled black teammate.
The assault in question took place on October 23rd, 2015 in the boy’s locker room at Dietrich High School, where law enforcement alleges that one of the three football players made their way to the disabled teen who had his arms outstretched expecting to receive a hug from his teammate.
Instead, he was lifted up, restrained to the floor, and had a coat hanger shoved into his rectum and repeatedly kicked to drive it deeper inside. Two of the footballers, 18-year-old John R. K. Howard and 17-year-old Tanner Ward, are being tried as adults. A 16-year-old player that was involved in the assault is being tried as a juvenile.
After several months of investigation by the State Attorney General, sexual assault charges were filed against the teens.
Earlier this month, the victim’s family filed a $10 million lawsuit against Dietrich High School. According to the lawsuit, the attack wasn’t a one-off, but rather the culmination of months of racist abuse by white students against the victim, who is black.
The suit alleges that the unnamed victim was bullied and tortured for months, enduring racist name-calling such as “kool-aid,” “chicken eater,” “watermelon,” and [the N-word]. The suit also alleges that the school and coaches of the team did nothing to stop the numerous assaults, and even encouraged the harassment. Allegedly, the victim and other teens were made to fight in a boxing style match where the victim wore boxing gloves and the other teen fought with his bare fists, resulting in the victim being knocked unconscious. The victim also reportedly suffered from painful “wedgies,” being stripped of his clothes, and having photos taken of his naked body.
The teens are being tried as adults could face life in prison.