CHICAGO – (February 1, 2017) Personal injury law firm, Romanucci & Blandin, announced today that it has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the parents of two Lake Zurich High School (LZHS) students who fell victim to the abuses of bullying and hazing taking place on the school’s football team in Lake Zurich, Illinois. The lawsuit was filed against Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95, school officials and coaches at LZHS for allowing acts of hazing and bullying to occur within the team locker room, including forcing teammates to strip naked and forced and un-consensual sexual assault.
The bullying discussed in the lawsuit of both students was part of longstanding and prevalent hazing rituals and traditions of the Lake Zurich football team extending as far back as 1997, and known to coaches long-before the dates of the Plaintiffs’ assaults. These egregious events were taking place, for instance, after the teams’ Thursday night “pasta dinners,” where upon at the conclusion of the dinner, members of the team would proceed to the locker room and engage in the tradition of “roasts.” Where upon information and belief, the social pressure and bullying became so severe and intense that even unwilling participants were forced to take part in acts that are assaultive, illegal, and often sexual in nature.
“The emotional and physical abuse that these current and former student athletes were forced to endure is unspeakable,” said lead attorney Antonio M. Romanucci from Romanucci & Blandin. “These inappropriate acts were clearly done without an understanding by the students of the long-term effects and ramifications that would ensue. Equally as disturbing is the lack of oversight by the football team’s coaches and the school administrators who turned a blind eye and ignored established policies and principles against hazing and bullying.”
A probe into the hazing allegations began when football players were ordered to sign a student behavior agreement before the team’s November 5, 2016 playoff game against Fenwick High School, or be prohibited from playing the rest of the 2016 season. The agreement was part of a letter sent to players and parents outlining “widespread and egregious abuse” that had been taking place. “This letter alone verifies that the Lake Zurich coaches and administration were well aware that inappropriate behavior was taking place in the locker room, which is extremely concerning,” said Bhavani Raveendran, attorney at Romanucci & Blandin.
Since last month, three of the team’s leaders including LZHS head football coach David Profitt, dean and assistant coach Chad Beaver, and athletic director Rolando Vasquez announced resignation requests, further raising red flags as to what was taking place in the team locker room.
Romanucci, who handled a recent Northwest Suburban Chicagoland High School District hazing lawsuit and settlement, has previously called for stronger laws, rules and regulations that govern activities like bullying and hazing. Romanucci was integral in the efforts to pass House Bill 1443 in August of 2013 with Illinois State Representative Martin J. Moylan; The bill holds school officials accountable for failure to report incidents of hazing. “No student should ever feel they are in danger at school,” stated Romanucci. “Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95 must be held accountable.”
In addition to seeking damages to compensate Plaintiffs for their psychological injuries, DOE CHILDREN A and B seek injunctive relief that would put an end to the hazing rituals, so that neither they nor future members of the Lake Zurich Football team will be subjected to the same abuses the plaintiffs have suffered.
About Romanucci & Blandin, LLC
Romanucci & Blandin has been rated as a leading civil trial practice law firm in Chicago concentering in bullying and hazing, personal injury, medical malpractice and police misconduct. The attorneys at the Chicago law firm represent individuals and their families in catastrophic personal injury matters, wrongful death and workers’ compensation cases. The cases that are referred to Romanucci & Blandin involve accidents or injuries which occurred due to negligence and carelessness on the part of individuals, governmental bodies and corporations of all sizes. Since its inception more than 16 years ago, Romanucci & Blandin has secured more than $400 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of their clients. For more information about Romanucci & Blandin, please visit www.rblaw.net or call (312) 458-1000.