John Cádiz Klemack
As many as seven soccer players are being questioned in connection with the hazing allegations at La Puente High School. Clinical psychologist Michelle Golland was tagged by the alleged abuse victims' attorney for help. She says the boys were in "serious trauma." John Cádiz Klemack reports from Larchmont Village for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 25, 2012.
As many as seven varsity soccer players may have been involved in that alleged hazing incident at La Puente High School, officials said on Tuesday.
Police on Monday cited and released four varsity members of the team. The four boys, who were taken into custody but released to their parents, are suspected of assault of a child, said Sgt. Dan Scott.
Parents of the alleged victims who've retained an attorney said their boys came to them about the alleged abuse and that they contacted school officials about a month ago.
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”.
The attorney representing the four alleged hazing victims has now hired a clinical psychologist to help them cope with what they say is sexual assault.
“This is not hazing, this is a sexual assault. These boys when I saw them were in serious trauma. I did a suicide assessment on one of them,” says psychologist Michelle Golland.
What the alleged victims are going through emotionally is akin to post-traumatic stress disorder, Golland said. Golland told NBC4 that the victims and their families must get help.
“PTSD untreated will go into serious anxiety, serious depression. All of the families involved, they all need therapy as well, because they are in this vortex of trauma,” said Golland.
Since the four boys have spoken out about the alleged hazing, Golland believes more hazing victims may be coming forward as well.
“As soon as it feels safe enough for other families to come forward, we’re going to be hearing about more.”
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.
The soccer 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.