LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WJW) – Parents of a former St. Edward High School student spoke out to the FOX 8 I-Team about what they say their teenage son has gone through the past two years.
According to the parents, when their son was a freshman at the school in 2019, an older student attacked him and simulated a sex act during five separate assaults. His mother said during one attack, members of the cross country team videotaped it on their phones and shared it on social media.
“The one time was at an overnight trip and they came into his hotel room, everyone had their phone up, they circled around his bed,” the boy’s mother said. “This was just like my worst nightmare. I just couldn’t believe it. “
The parents asked not to be identified since their son was a victim.
“We had to put our kids in new schools, we had to find a new place to live, it’s been very troubling,” the victim’s father said. “All five assaults occurred before his first month was completed at St. Ed’s High School.”
The parents said they didn’t find out about the assaults until a year later because their son was afraid of retaliation. When they found out, they reported the matter to the school.
They say school officials did little to help them and they had to go on their own to pursue criminal charges against the one student.
“The juvenile is still in the school with three guilty, called delinquency for juveniles charges: assault, unlawful restraint and disorderly conduct. The victim has a protective order, against the juvenile,” the boy’s mother said. “The coach who instructed the team to ‘delete anything inappropriate’ before they went into their meetings with the school and instructed the captains and leaders on the team to ‘handle this’ is still coaching.”
She added none of the students seen in the video, or the ones who taped it, shared it over 30 times and witnessed the assaults, faced any discipline.
“The coach, captains and administration rallied around protecting themselves, covering up, embellishing and lying instead of protecting the victim and changing the toxic culture of the program and school which left the victim feeling worse,” the victim’s mother said. “I know they covered up and minimized my son’s assaults, so what else are they hiding and covering up? When will the board of trustees, parents and alumni start holding the administration and leadership accountable?”
The I-Team reached out to KC McKenna, the principal at St. Edward’s, and he released the following statement:
“St. Edward High School (St. Ed’s) is aware of a lawsuit filed involving our school and the situation that occurred in 2019. We cannot provide details on pending legal matters and must protect the privacy of our students.
“It is important to know that we did not learn of these concerns until September 2020. When we did, we took immediate action to report to the authorities what was believed to have occurred as we are required to do by law. Further, we took additional steps to conduct an internal investigation, imposed disciplinary actions as appropriate against those involved and required mandatory training and education for the athletic team involved.
“St. Ed’s takes our responsibility for the safety and well-being of our students seriously. In this case, as with any such claims, we acted swiftly to engage and respond in the best interests of our students.”
The family of the victim has also filed a federal lawsuit against the school.
“We are just trying to be strong for our son and set a good example that you stand up for what you believe in,” the mother said. “And we are doing this to try and help other kids for the future.”