Judge dismisses lawsuit in Maine West hazing case - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Judge dismisses lawsuit in Maine West hazing case

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A judge Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit that claimed athletes at a northwest suburban school were sexually assaulted under the guise of hazing, according to the local school district.

A statement by Maine Township School District 207 said Circuit Court Judge Daniel Gillespie dismissed the suit brought on by four young men who claimed they were assaulted and hazed while athletes at Maine West High, the Sun-Times is reporting.

The defendants, which include the school district, principal and two former coaches, had sought to have the suit dismissed, according to the school district. Tuesday's ruling "focused on the plaintiffs' failure to allege facts sufficient to permit the lawsuit to go forward," the school district's statement said.

Ken Wallace, district superintendent, said, "We are pleased with the ruling, especially in light of what the district regards as the exaggerated claims asserted by plaintiff's attorney in the media."

Mike Kujawa, former coach Michael Divincenzo's attorney, called the judge's ruling a "small victory," but also said the case will continue.

Tony Romanucci, the lawyer who filed the suit on behalf of four unnamed John Does, agreed the case won't end here. He said the judge took issue with the allegations related to Maine West Principal Audrey Haugan and the Maine Township school board — not the former coaches.

Romanucci and his clients can file an amended lawsuit.

The suit that was dismissed was filed last November. Another alleged victim, the fifth, came forward in August 2013 and claimed in a separate suit that he was sexually assaulted Sept. 26, 2012, at the school in Des Plaines after coaches ordered the team to do a "campus run."

The school district said the second suit wasn't up in court Tuesday, but it's expected to "be consolidated with the first lawsuit if an amended complaint is filed."

The district will continue to fight that August suit or any amended suit, it said.

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