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Local News

Federal lawsuit claims school officials were aware of abuse, hazing culture

Filing: football players attacked, abused student

On Wednesday, Richard and Allison Brookman filed a lawsuit against Reed-Custer Unit School District 255 and several officials after their son allegedly suffered hazing, bullying and a “vicious sexual assault” last year while playing as a football player at Reed-Custer High School in Braidwood.
On Wednesday, Richard and Allison Brookman filed a lawsuit against Reed-Custer Unit School District 255 and several officials after their son allegedly suffered hazing, bullying and a “vicious sexual assault” last year while playing as a football player at Reed-Custer High School in Braidwood.

A federal lawsuit claims Reed-Custer School District 255 officials turned a blind eye toward a culture of bullying, hazing and sexual abuse that tormented and injured a young aspiring football player.

On Wednesday, Richard and Allison Brookman, the parents of Anthony Brookman filed a lawsuit against the school district and several officials after Anthony Brookman allegedly suffered hazing, bullying and a “vicious sexual assault” last year.

Between May 2017 and November, Anthony Brookman was an incoming freshman at Reed-Custer High School in Braidwood, according to the lawsuit.

During summer 2017, he attended a football camp at the high school. On July 19, 2017, Anthony Brookman was allegedly attacked by football players and sexually assaulted by one of them. The incident, among others, caused him to suffer depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

During the camp, he allegedly experienced bullying, harassment and sexual abuse from other football players. Anthony Brookman and his parents allege school officials were aware or tacitly acknowledged a “culture of abuse, hazing, bullying and assault” that resulted in significant injury to Anthony Brookman.

The lawsuit claimed Reed-Custer principal Tim Ricketts and athletic director Chuck Anderson turned a blind eye to the abuse even after it was reported.

“These assaults were part of a prevalent hazing ritual known to defendants long before the dates of plaintiff’s assault,” the lawsuit alleged.

The lawsuit claimed before Anthony Brookman was hazed, school officials took no action to end and tacitly sanctioned, the custom, tradition or practice of engaging in hazing of a sexual nature.

A message to Reed-Custer Superintendent Mark Mitchell and Ricketts was not immediately returned Thursday.

The lawsuit alleged that during a pre-game pep talk, Mark Wolf, the school’s varsity football coach, encouraged players to “unleash their inner rapist” or “rip off” the genitals of the opposing team.

In one incident, two football players, who are not named, allegedly verbally bullied and harassed Anthony Brookman by threatening to have sex or rape his mother and older sister.

When Anthony Brookman had told them to stop, the football players allegedly said “they intended to have sex with and/or rape his mother and sister while they held Anthony down and forced Anthony to watch,” according to the lawsuit.

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