Preps Talk

Lawsuit filed following alleged Lake Zurich High School football hazing scandal

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Lawsuit filed following alleged Lake Zurich High School football hazing scandal

A lawsuit was filed on Wednesday after an alleged hazing scandal involving Lake Zurich High school coaches and officials and members of the football team.

The lawsuit, filed by lawyers representing the parents of two Lake Zurich students who are victims of the hazing incident, alleges that coaches and school officials allowed "acts of hazing and bullying to occur within the team locker room, including forcing teammates to strip naked and forced un-consensual sexual assault."

According to NBC Chicago, District 95 superintendent Kaine Osburn wrote this letter to the parents of Lake Zurich students:

"The last twelve weeks have been challenging for many students and others in our community," District Superintendent Kaine Osburn said in a letter to parents last week. "My administration has done its best to balance the safety and rights of our students and staff with the need to thoroughly examine how we can foster a culture and climate that prevents hazing and other unhealthy behaviors, all while attempting to communicate in a transparent manner. I accept responsibility for any failures in this regard, but rest assured my full and earnest dedication is and always will be to the safety of our students and the knowledge that we must do what is necessary to build a healthy foundation for growth."

The lawsuit alleges that players on the Lake Zurich football team were forced to strip naked in the shower while they were urinated on with other members of the team watching.

Antonio Romanucci, the attorney who represents the alleged victims, said that Lake Zurich officials claimed they were unaware of any hazing involving students, but the lawsuit alleges that hazing at the school goes back at least two decades. 

"When it crosses the line and it steps over a boundary of decency and morality and ethics and sexuality, then that's when boys should not be boys, they need to be stopped," Romanucci said via NBC Chicago.

Since the alleged incident, Lake Zurich has implemented a locker room supervision schedule and an anti-hazing presentation for players and parents.

The District declined to comment publicly on the lawsuit.

"The District is committed to creating a positive culture that does not tolerate hazing of any kind," a statement read. "Our focus will be looking forward. Our own attorney has conducted an internal investigation and made 13 recommendations regarding how we can address hazing proactively and implementation of these recommendations has already started. Additionally, the administration has instituted other measures not outlined in the report."

NBC Sports Chicago's 100 Days to Kickoff

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USA Today

NBC Sports Chicago's 100 Days to Kickoff

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

In case you missed any of our previews, here is our rundown:

100. De La Salle

99. Crystal Lake South

98. Eisenhower

97. Back of the Yards

96. Jacobs

95. Waubonsie Valley

94. Kaneland

93. West Aurora

93 Days to Kickoff: West Aurora

93 Days to Kickoff: West Aurora

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: West Aurora

Head coach: Nate Eimer

Assistant coaches: Tony Melchiori, DC Bob Fowler, DL Patrick Stremel, LB Charlie Graves, DB Mike Runge, OL Joe Howell, RB Ron Murphy and QB Alex Shaw

How they fared in 2017: 7-3 (4-1 Upstate Eight Valley Conference). West Aurora made the IHSA Class 8A playoff field last season. The Blackhawks lost to Naperville Central 35-14 in opening round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Larkin

Aug. 31 @ West Chicago

Sept. 7 vs Streamwood

Sept. 14 @ Glenbard East

Sept. 21 vs Bartlett

Sept. 28 vs Glenbard South

Oct. 5 @ Elgin

Oct. 12 vs East Aurora

Oct. 19 vs South Elgin

[MORE: 94 Days to Kickoff - Kaneland]

Biggest storyline: Game 11. Can the Blackhawks get back to the IHSA state playoffs for the fourth straight season and then advance past the opening round?

Names to watch this season: QB Will Tammaru, RB/DB JaQuan Buchanan and DT Denver Warren

Biggest holes to fill: The Blackhawks welcome back an impressive 17 starters (nine offense, eight defense) to the mix. However, the group will be a bit inexperienced in some spots on both the offensive and defensive line.  

EDGY's Early Take: The Blackhawks' turnaround under head coach Nate Eimer and staff has been a terrific story to follow. That said, the bar for West Aurora football has also been raised. No longer are they satisfied by just "getting" to state. The Blackhawks welcome back a deep group on both sides of the football led by a potentially high powered, balanced offense. On paper, this team has the makings of being one of the better Blackhawks teams in their history. They will challenge for the Upstate Eight conference title and get another shot at the Class 8A playoff field.