In October 2015, three Dietrich HS football players allegedly viciously raped a black disabled teammate with a coat hanger in their locker room. After several months of investigation, the state Attorney General’s office filed sexual assault charges against all three alleged attackers. Two of the teens will be charged as adults and could face life in prison, under Idaho law.
Earlier this month, the 18-year-old victim’s family filed a $10 million lawsuit against Dietrich High School stating that the incident wasn’t a one-off but rather a culmination of months of racist abuse by white students against the boy.
The boy “was taunted and called racist names by other members of the team which names included ‘Kool-Aid’ ‘chicken eater’ ‘watermelon’ and [the N-word],” the suit alleges.
The civil complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Idaho also claims that one of the students charged with sexual assault displayed a Confederate flag and demanded the boy recite a racist song titled “Notorious KKK.”
In addition to Dietrich High School, the lawsuit also names 11 employees as defendants. It claims school administrators and coaches did nothing to stop the racial and physical abuse towards the boy, who was especially vulnerable due to “mental disorders including learning disabilities.”
The suit even claims that Dietrich football coaches encouraged other players to fight the boy, allowing a much larger student to knock the boy unconscious as other students shouted “catcalls, taunts and racial epithets.”
When one of the teens asked the boy for a hug, he agreed, only to be restrained while the others attacked.
“I screamed,” he testified, according to Magic Valley. “I was pretty upset. I felt really bad. A little bit betrayed and confused at the same time. It was terrible — a pain I’ve never felt.”
John R.K. Howard is said to have been the ring leader of the alleged rape incident while 17-year-old Tanner Ward and a third player, 16 years old (who will be tried as a juvenile) acted as accomplices.
The school has not released a statement or responded to media outlets for comment.