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Local News

Email links Plainfield Central hazing investigation to football team

Parent: Son said Snapchat video showed sexual assault on student

Email from Plainfield District 202 Superintendent Lane Abrell said the Plainfield Central High School administration was investigating a potential hazing situation within the football program. The school's assistant principal communicated with the football coach regarding a Snapchat message.
Email from Plainfield District 202 Superintendent Lane Abrell said the Plainfield Central High School administration was investigating a potential hazing situation within the football program. The school's assistant principal communicated with the football coach regarding a Snapchat message.

Plainfield Central High School administrators investigated an alleged hazing incident within the school’s football program, documents show.

An email from Plainfield School District 202 Superintendent Lane Abrell, obtained by The Herald-News through a Freedom of Information Act request, was sent to the school district’s board members about 11 a.m. Oct. 18 with the subject line “Student incident....confidential.”

Abrell told board members that he had just left Central High School and that the school’s administrators were “investigating a potential situation of hazing within the football program,” according to the email.

District officials have not said publicly whether the alleged hazing incident involved Wildcat football players, only that it involved student-athletes. District officials and the Plainfield Police Department have continued to say little about the investigation of that incident or what led police to charge four Plainfield students with misdemeanor battery.

On Oct. 18, district officials contacted Plainfield police about an incident that took place the day before, police have said. Investigators later determined the incident did not meet the definition of hazing under state law because it was not part of an induction process and no bodily harm was inflicted.

David Vandermeer said that his son, who is a student at Plainfield Central, arrived home Oct. 17 and told him a Snapchat video was circulating that apparently showed several male youths trying to sodomize another male youth with a broomstick while the victim was held down.

“It sounds like it should be a felony charge, not a little misdemeanor,” Vandermeer said.

District spokesman Tom Hernandez refused to respond to questions about the alleged Snapchat video and if that was the focus of the investigation.

“I know this is frustrating, but we have no further comment,” Hernandez said.

Plainfield police did not respond to several requests for comment Tuesday. On Thursday, Plainfield police denied a FOIA request for police reports on the incident.

The department said that the investigation is pending, the records are exempt under the state’s Juvenile Court Act and the release of the records would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

District Board President Kevin Kirberg also refused to comment on the incident at the board’s regular meeting Monday, directing The Herald-News to Hernandez, who refused to comment as well.

Wildcats head football coach Jon Pereiro sent an email to Plainfield Central Assistant Principal Matthew Ambrose about 12:30 p.m. Oct. 19 with the subject line “Fwd: [EXT] Snapchat message,” according to records obtained in a FOIA request. A section of that email was redacted.

“Anything else happen this weekend that [you] are aware of,” Ambrose wrote to Pereiro in the email thread.

“Not to my knowledge,” Pereiro replied.

Will County State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Carole Cheney said Tuesday that the charges against the four students have yet to come to the office’s juvenile division for review.

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