A black, disabled, football player thought he was getting a hug of support from his fellow teammates in the school locker room — but instead he got raped in a vicious attack.
According to reports, another football player shoved a coat hanger into his rectum while another teammate kicked it several times.
via Washington Post:
Last fall, three star football players lured the special needs student with an offer of a hug inside the Dietrich High School locker room, but instead proceeded to thrust a coat hanger into the boy’s rectum while one of the assailants kicked the object several times, according to the criminal complaint.
John R.K. Howard, 18, a transfer student from Texas, and Tanner Ward, 17, are being tried as adults due to the seriousness of the crime and could face up to life in prison, according to MagicValley.com. A third, 16-year-old defendant, who is not named, is being charged as a juvenile.
A witness testified that Ward initiated the heartless attack and that Howard was the one who kicked the coat hanger five or six times while it was jammed inside the boy’s rectum, causing painful injuries that required hospital treatment.
“I screamed,” the 18-year-old boy, who is not being named because he’s a victim of sexual assault, testified for the first time last month. “I was pretty upset. I felt really bad. A little betrayed and confused at the same time. It was terrible — a pain I’ve never felt,” he said, adding that he remembered his attackers laughing throughout the assault, MagicValley.com reported.
The victim — a black learning-disabled teenager who was adopted by white parents in the small, predominantly white town of 338 — was the target of racist taunting and abuse in the months leading up to the savage attack, according to a $10 million lawsuit the family filed against Dietrich High School earlier this month.
Howard, who is portrayed in court documents as the ringleader in the merciless harassment, is accused of forcing the black boy to sing a Ku Klux Klan song he learned in Texas, called “Notorious KKK.” Howard also encouraged other football players to join in on the vicious bullying, the suit alleges.
The boy “was taunted and called racist names by other members of the team which names include ‘Kool-Aid’ ‘chicken eater’ ‘watermelon’ and n—r,” the suit alleges.
Football players also stripped the boy naked on the team bus and photographed him, the suit alleges.
The lawsuit also names 11 school employees who allegedly did nothing to protect the boy, who was vulnerable due to “mental disorders including learning disabilities,”
The employees reportedly promoted the violence, documents allege.
The suit claims Dietrich football coaches encouraged other players to fight the boy, including one incident in which a much larger player knocked the boy, who was forced to wear boxing gloves, unconscious. Meanwhile, students gawked at the brawl while shouting “catcalls, taunts and racial epithets,” according to the suit.
The bullying culminated in the vicious Oct. 23, 2015 coat hanger attack. The following day, the boy and his parents reported the sexual assault to police.
Howard has a preliminary hearing set for June 10 and has not entered a plea. Ward’s trial is scheduled to begin on September 26.
We hope that not only justice is served, but the young man’s family gets every penny they’re asking for.