NOTE: This article contains descriptions that could be graphic, discretion is advised.
TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Arguments were heard on Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Tyler regarding a hazing lawsuit against Brownsboro ISD (BISD) involving the varsity baseball team.
The lawsuit alleges that long-time hazing traditions within the baseball team ranged from upperclassmen having new teammates carry equipment to sexual assault.
In court, attorneys for both parties represented their cases to Federal Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell on BISD’s second motion to dismiss in the case after the first motion to dismiss was denied.
“Upper classmen routinely and openly discussed hazing younger players in the presence of the baseball coaches,” the lawsuit said. “Players were ‘tea bagged,’ held down, ‘dry humped’ and one former player reported having an upperclassman’s penis in his mouth.”
The lawsuit holds the district liable for the inaction of the baseball team’s head coach toward the hazing detailed in the lawsuit.
“The school district’s obligation under the law is just to investigate,” BISD’s attorney Sean Braun said. “They did what they thought was best.”
The second motion to dismiss states that BISD did not reprimand or investigate any employee as a result of the incident and that the lawsuit “asserts several vague and purely conclusory theories suggesting BISD subjected [the student] to a sexually hostile educational environment.”
The motion also said that even if the coach was aware of any harassment, that knowledge does not extend to the district. The motion is currently under advisement pending a ruling.
The lawsuit alleges the acts and omissions of the Brownsboro baseball staff made the primary minor featured in the lawsuit more vulnerable “to the known sexually hostile educational environment.”
During pre-season practices, in the presence of the coaching staff, the lawsuit states that students warned each other that upperclassmen openly discussed how they were going to haze the freshman.
One student in a warning, said in the lawsuit that threats included “shoving a broomstick up their a**.” The students reported that due to the inaction of coaching staff on the hazing behavior and threats, they dealt with it by keeping their heads down.
The main hazing incident detailed in the lawsuit occurred on a bus ride back from a baseball tournament, “about three rows behind the coaching staff.”
The lawsuit alleges that four seniors followed a fellow teammate to his seat, threw him down and “dry humped” him while the student attempted to throw him off.
“The coaches could clearly see everything but did nothing,” the lawsuit said. “Left alone the senior students forcibly spread [the student’s] legs. [He] continued to fight back and yell, but none of the coaches intervened.”
A third student also reported being physically and sexually attacked by the same senior boys, who the lawsuit notes were products of the culture and victims of hazing themselves.
“At the conclusion of the assault, Head Coach laughed and told [the student] ‘it looks like you have two daddies now.'”-Lawsuit against BISD
After the incident the parents, who have now filed a lawsuit against the district, complained and said the head coach downplayed the incident which was caught on the bus’ video camera.
“While they could clearly see the assaults on the video, they also heard Coach’s ‘two daddies’ comment, then saw him laugh about the assault,” the lawsuit said.
According to the lawsuit, the athletic director requested the superintendent watch the video who instead sent it to the assistant superintendent for review, and they denied seeing the coach do anything wrong on the video.
The athletic director then asked the principal to watch the video, after which, punishments were increased on the seniors involved.
“Shortly before filing this lawsuit, the BISD’s attorney again confirmed that BISD did not maintain the bus video and audio of the assaults, and ‘that no such records exist,” according to the lawsuit.
Judge Mitchell said in court that the ruling on the second motion to dismiss will be made available as soon as possible.