DIETRICH, Idaho — The parents of a Dietrich student have filed a $10 million lawsuit against the Dietrich School District, charging the school failed to protect their son from escalating racially-based harassment and assaults that culminated in the teen being brutally raped with a coat hanger by fellow members of the football team.
The victim, whose identity is not being released by KTVB, is black and has mental disabilities. His alleged attackers are white.
According to prosecutors, the sexual assault happened Oct. 23, 2015 in the high school locker room. The lawsuit describes one teammate pretending to offer the victim a hug, then holding him down as another boy inserted a coat hanger into his rectum. A third attacker then kicked the coat hanger several times, forcing it farther into the victim’s body and causing rectal injuries that required treatment at a hospital, lawyers say.
“The Plaintiff screamed and cried out but no staff member came to his assistance or even attempted to investigate the clamor from within the locker room,” attorneys R. Keith Roark and E. Lee Schlender wrote in the filing.
The attorney general’s office filed charges against three students in March after a months-long investigation. John R. K. Howard and Tanner Ward are both charged as adults with forcible sexual penetration, and could face up to life in prison if convicted. The third student is charged as a juvenile.
Lawyers say the night of the rape was not the first time the black student, who was adopted by a Dietrich family as a child, had been targeted.
According to the lawsuit, the 18-year-old victim was called names including “Kool-Aid,” “chicken-eater,” “watermelon” and the N-word by his football teammates beginning in the summer of 2015.