Wall Township, NJ district threatened with legal action over football hazing
The Wall Township school district has been served with three notices of tort claims, the required first step when filing a lawsuit against a public entity.
The lawsuits are related to allegations of hazing by several members of the high school's football team. All are under the age of 18 and are being charged with juvenile criminal complaints charging the students with hazing, attempted criminal sexual contact, criminal sexual contact, false imprisonment, and harassment.
The claims obtained by NJ.com all make similar allegations about a "vicious assault" on three students during which football team members put their hands down the victim's pants and tried to sexually assault them.
No "employees" of the district attempted to stop the assault who are accused of “carelessness, recklessness, and negligence," NJ.com reported about the notices.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office has not provided details of what took place in the locker room because the law and court rules prevent them from revealing most details in matters involving underage suspects.
The content of videos of the reported hazing have been widely reported to have involved a broomstick. New Jersey 101.5 has not viewed the video.
Horseplay or assault?
Attorney Chris Adams who is representing one of the students charged previously described the incident to New Jersey 101.5 as nothing more than "horseplay" among teenagers and not sexual in nature.
"Family members and lawyers wishing to sue the school should stop trying to sensationalize this for their own gain and tell the truth about what happened with these children," Adams told New Jersey 101.5.
Adams said the incident took place in front of the coach's office and they stopped the activity between students by blowing a whistle signaling that practice was about to start.
Attorneys for McOmber & Luber in Red Bank, who filed the notices on Wednesday afternoon, did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.
New Jersey 101.5 has confirmed a News 12 New Jersey report that the accused players are being punished by the district and will not be allowed to attend the prom or participate in spring sports. Instead, they will be required to perform community service.
Wall prepares for its future
The Wall High School Board of Education Tuesday night approved the hiring of former Manalapan High School head coach Ed Gurrieri to lead its team.
“I'm happy to be here. Thank you for the appointment. Thank you for putting your trust in me. We will work hard to make this team something that, not only the school, but the whole community can be proud of,” Gurrieri told the board during the meeting.
He is a member of the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame and was coach from 2004-2019 for a 109-35 record.