A lawsuit alleges that a disabled Black student in Dietrich, Idaho was sodomized by a group of his Football teammates, an incident that has rocked a small town and resulted in criminal charges against three alleged assailants.
Authorities say the alleged 18-year-old victim was held by one of his attackers in their school locker room while another raped him with a coathanger, while another kicked the coathanger repeatedly, the Washington Post reports. Each of the attackers were white. The lawsuit, a $10 million case against Dietrich High School, which was provided to the Post by the teen’s lawyer, says the Oct. 2015 incident was one of several incidents of racial abuse and taunting that he underwent.
In one incident, the suit alleges, he was forced to recite a racist song called “Notorious KKK.” This was after other incidents in which he was repeatedly taunted and subject to racial slurs, the lawsuit said. It also names 11 staff members at the school, including teachers and coaches, saying they did nothing to stop the racial intimidation of the boy who was said to have “mental disorders, including learning disabilities.” School officials have not commented.
Court records show that a student, John R.K. Howard, 18, the alleged victim’s football teammate, was charged in March with forcible sexual penetration. He was arrested and released on $75,000 bond. The lawsuit depicts Howard as the main perpetrator of the intimidation and assault.
“Mr. Howard is a relative of prominent individuals in the community and, at least in part due to his athletic ability and community connections, the Defendants ignored or were deliberately indifferent to the behavior of Mr. Howard which included aggression, taunting and bullying of The Plaintiff and other students in the District,” according to the lawsuit.
Another suspect, Tanner Ward, 17, was charged as an adult, also for forcible penetration. The lawsuit alleges Ward inserted the coat hanger into the victim’s rectum while Howard kicked it. A third individual was also charged as a juvenile, his name has not been released.
In an April criminal preliminary hearing, the alleged victim described the ordeal with the coathanger. He said the harassment had started before football practice when the defendants gave him a “power wedgie,” in which they pulled his underwear so far over his pants it tore, according to the Twin Valley Falls News website. The lawsuit said this took place in plain view of at least one member of the coaching staff.
After practice, one of the teammates approached asked him for a hug, but then signaled the other assailants to attack him which is when the coathanger rape took place.
“I felt really bad. A little bit betrayed and confused at the same time. It was terrible — a pain I’ve never felt,” the student said. He was later taken to two different hospitals for examination and treatment of rectal injuries.
The victim is one of the few African Americans who live in the small, predominately White town situated about two hours southeast of Boise. He is the adopted son of a White couple, one of whom teaches science at the school.
Ward’s criminal trial is Scheduled for Sept. 26. Howard’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 10.