Mater Dei HSFB Players Accused of Sexually Assaulting Teammate in AugustMay 10, 2022
Police records indicate several football players at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California, allegedly sexually assaulted one of their teammates in late August.
Connor Sheets, Hannah Fry and Laura J. Nelson of the Los Angeles Times reported the Santa Ana Police Department document was filed in September.
It does not clarify whether the allegations were investigated or if police were contacted, instead explaining the student's coach informed school officials. Police learned about the information secondhand from social services.
According to the document, "several football players forced a teammate to the floor and exposed their genitals. Then they held him down, as one player 'began humping' him from behind, through his pants."
The student wasn't physically hurt but left Mater Dei in the aftermath and suffered from anxiety.
Mater Dei, which is known for the success of its football program on the field, was already in recent headlines after the family of a former football player filed a lawsuit that the Los Angeles Times noted alleged "a culture of hazing and secrecy and a win-at-any-cost attitude."
That lawsuit states the football player was forced to fight a much larger teammate in a hazing ritual called "Bodies," which calls for players to exchange punches in the torso between the waist and shoulders until one relents.
The smaller student suffered a number of injuries, including a concussion and a broken nose, and the lawsuit said the school attempted to cover up the incident and did not contact paramedics or his family for 90 minutes.
A Santa Ana Police Department investigator recommended felony battery charges against the larger player, who remained on the football team, per Scott M. Reid of the Orange County Register.
The player who suffered the injuries withdrew from the school.
While the Los Angeles Times noted head football coach Bruce Rollinson told police he was unaware of the "Bodies" ritual, the lawsuit said he told the injured student's father he "would be a millionaire if he got paid $100 every time he heard about Bodies or other physical rituals."
Following that lawsuit, another lawsuit alleged that two Mater Dei football players broke the jaw of a student who was on the basketball team. Older crude cellphone videos of football players also began to circulate.
Mater Dei hired the law firm Van Dermyden Makus to investigate its safety practices within the athletic department. The investigation remains ongoing.