PLAINFIELD, Ill. - A lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court with scathing accusations against the Plainfield school district and several high school football coaches.
The civil suit targets School District 202 as well as three football coaches from Plainfield Central High School.
The lawsuit says two players were hazed and sexually assaulted in the team's locker room.
According to this lawsuit, the two boys were freshmen on the Plainfield Central football team back in October 2019 when older team members allegedly surrounded them in a hazing ritual that included the assault.
Lawyers for the two families say no coaches were present at the time but they knew the ritual called "Code Blue" had been happening for at least five years.
"They were complicit. The high school itself was complicit. And their football coaches were complicit in allowing varsity football players to prey on young children," said attorney Antonio Romanucci.
"They knew that ‘Code Blue’ was happening in their locker room. That means they knew they knew they were offering a football program that had a pre-requisite of being sexually assaulted," attorney Ian Fallon said.
Fallon says "Code Blue" was called inside the school's locker room in October 2019 when varsity players allegedly assaulted two freshman players by using a broom stick.
The lawsuit seeks money for the alleged victims, as well as changes at the school district to prevent and monitor hazing and bullying.
Attorney Bhavani Raveendran, along with Fallon and Romanucci, represents the alleged victims' families.
"When it escalates to this level we must call it what it is: sexual assault. And it's something our minor plaintiffs will be dealing with for their entire lives," Raveendran said.
Back in 2019, four players faced misdemeanor battery charges connected to an alleged hazing and the school district issued a statement calling the behavior "absolutely unacceptable."
The suit also claims the violent hazing has been happening since 2014 to countless players.
Fallon says those players are, "encouraged to just walk away, to say 'this is a joke, this is what makes you part of the team, just accept it.' And unfortunately there are dozens and dozens and dozens of victims of this practice."
Plainfield School District 202 said in a statement that it does not comment on pending litigation.