John Cadiz Klemack and Mike Tauber
New details emerged Monday night about a hazing case involving the La Puente High School soccer team. John Cadiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2012.
Four students have been cited and released in connection with hazing allegations at La Puente High School.
The four boys, who were taken into custody but released to their parents, are suspected of assault of a child, said Sgt. Dan Scott.
They and their parents have been ordered to appear in court next month, but they have not been formally charged with a crime, Scott said.
The Sheriff’s department would not say what was involved in the hazing. But an attorney for three boys who alleged that they were victimized at the school said that it was sexual in nature.
There is no evidence that any adults at the school knew about the hazing or participated in it in any way, Scott said.
Despite news reports that the boys’ coach had been accused of luring boys into a room near his office, where the hazing would take place, in nearly 70 interviews with children at the school, no evidence has emerged to support that allegation.
“We don’t have anybody telling us of anybody being lured into the room,” Scott said.
The boys coach has been placed on paid administrative leave while the case is being investigated, school district officials said.
The case has been turned over to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, which will decide whether to press charges, Scott said.
Barbara Nakaoka, Superintendent of the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, said Monday that the school district encouraged students with information about the case to come forward.
“I will assure you that your voices will be heard, that we will take the necessary action and steps to stop negative and harmful behavior,” Nakaoka said.
Brian Claypool, an attorney for three of the students who said they were victimized, said his clients were sexually abused during the alleged hazing, which took place when a younger boy made the varsity soccer team.
Claypool, who also represented alleged victims in the Miramonte school sexual abuse case, said one of the alleged victims had to be hospitalized and another told him that he “fought for his life”.
Mothers who have retained the attorney said their boys came to them about the alleged abuse and that they contacted school officials about a month ago.
The Hacienda La Puente Unified School District said it received information two weeks ago and contacted the Sheriff’s office and it’s Special Victims Unit, which started an investigation.
“We are going back as far as we need to go back," Scott said. "I know specifically the detective has talked to children as far back as 2003."