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Alleged victims describe hazing at hands of soccer teammates

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 3:36 PM EDT, Mon October 1, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Two of the alleged victims describe the attacks to HLN's Dr. Drew
  • A coach has been placed on administrative leave
  • A sheriff's official says four people were cited and could face charges

Editor's note: This report contains graphic language.

La Puente, California (CNN) -- Two of three California students who allege they were hazed and sexually assaulted as an initiation into a high school soccer team spoke this week in graphic detail about the harrowing ordeal they said they survived.

"They picked me up and put the stick up my butt," a 14-year-old boy, identified only as "Billy," told HLN's Dr. Drew Pinsky on Monday.

The attackers were his teammates, the teen said. And the allegations the three alleged victims have made are being investigated by authorities and have shocked many around the Los Angeles-area high school.

"This is deeply disturbing to me and the entire community," said Barbara Nakaoka, superintendent of Hacienda La Puente Unified School District. "We do not and will not turn a blind eye to reports of harassment or hazing."

Billy and another boy, 15-year-old "John," told Pinsky that the alleged incidents occurred at the end of last school year at La Puente High School. In both cases, "Billy" and "John" are not the boys' real names. CNN agreed to use the assumed names to protect the boys' identities.

Billy said he was cornered in a back room by a group of about 10 boys who asked him "if I wanted it the easy way or the hard way. And in that moment my heart was, like, pounding, and, like, I kind of like blacked out."

He tried to run. He tried to fight. The attackers were still able to penetrate him with a pole, Billy said.

"I couldn't, like, get away from all of them. There was, like, 10 people," he said.

John, another alleged victim, says the coach of the soccer team was aware of the abuse. The coach even winked at him when teammates tried to lure him into the room where the alleged abuse occurred.

And when it happened, the coach had to know because his office was very close, John told Pinsky.

"I'm pretty sure he could hear us screaming and kicking in there. And he's just right next to it," John said.

The soccer coach is under investigation for possible involvement, said Sgt. Dan Scott, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Special Victims Unit. He said authorities conducted interviews with more than 70 boys at the high school, but noted that the investigation is ongoing.

Nakaoka said the coach, whom she declined to identify, has been placed on administrative leave. Attempts by CNN to reach the man listed as the team's coach for comment were unsuccessful.

Sheriff's officials were notified of the accusations about two weeks ago, following a complaint from the mother of one of the alleged victims.

"We are looking at all sports because the allegations of assault occurred over a few years, and there are multiple allegations," Scott said.

Four people were cited and could face charges, pending a review by the Los Angeles district attorney, Scott said. Three of the four are minors, and one has since turned 18, he added. He did not identify them.

Parents arrived on campus Monday to vent their frustration and demand answers. They displayed signs and banners, calling for school officials to be held accountable if the allegations prove true.

Manuel Maldonado, a father, questioned why parents weren't notified earlier about the alleged abuse.

"Where was the supervision?" he demanded.

Brian Claypool, the attorney for the alleged victims, said Monday he has not reviewed any medical records or other potential physical evidence, but insists their stories are credible and consistent.

John said he was able to escape, to run away before he got the worst of what his attackers were planning for him.

But still the effects linger, and he says he does not want to return to school.

"They're just making fun of me and everything," he said.

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CNN en EspaƱol's Jaqueline Hurtado and CNN's Stan Wilson and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

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