A $10 million dollar lawsuit has been filed against the Dietrich School District by a black student with disabilities that was allegedly raped by white students with a coat hanger in October 2015.
The victim claims in the complaint that administrators, the school board, employees of the district and coaches of the football team failed to protect him against both physical and mental abuse.
The ringleader of the alleged attack, John Howard originally of Texas but lived in Dietrich at the time of the attack, apparently lured the victim into a locker room where he, 17-year-old Tanner Ward, and a 16-year-old student conducted the attack. Prosecutors claim that the victim was given a hug which was a signal for the attack to begin. The complaint goes on to say that Ward forced the hanger into the victim's rectum and Howard, "then kicked the hanger several times, forcing it further into the [victim's] rectum."
Howard and Ward are both being charged as adults for the crime. The 16-year-old’s records are sealed and has not been publically identified.
The victim was later taken to two different hospitals where he was examined by doctors and treated for "rectal injuries," according to court documents.
According to Courthouse News, the harassment was an ongoing issue for the student who claimed that staff at the high school looked the “other way,” when the students called him racial epithets on different occasions.
The complaint also said that students forced him to strip naked on one occasion while other shot photos with their cell phones while returning back from a nighttime football game.
"...the coaches did nothing to sanction the behavior of the offenders or to prevent further incidents of a similar nature," according to the document.
Ward’s trial is scheduled to begin on Sept. 26 and Howard has yet to enter a plea. He will face a preliminary hearing on June 10th.