Officials: February was first indication of Plano High situation
By Steve Lord email@example.com September 7, 2013 1:20PM
Updated: October 9, 2013 7:55PM
PLANO — Officials involved with the investigation into sports hazing rituals at Plano High School agree they were unaware of the situation until February of this year.
A Feb. 11 incident in which members of the Plano basketball team held down another member in the locker room, who was then penetrated by another player’s fingers, resulted in a seven-month investigation that ended in charges of criminal sexual assault, aggravated battery and unlawful restraint against five offenders under the age of 17 at the time.
During the investigation of the February situation, investigators discovered other incidents that happened in August 2012. Those were involving members of the high school football team.
That has given rise to some discussion as to whether officials knew before February 2013 of the incidents last August, and did nothing about it.
Plano Police Chief Steve Eaves, whose department started the investigation, said that is absolutely untrue.
“We did not know about this until February,” he said. “February is actually the big moment. There were things linked to August  that we found through investigation. But there was nothing reported to us then.”
Eaves confirmed a statement from the school last week that the school reported the incident to police in February “almost simultaneously” as a parent of the victim was reporting it to police. That is what opened the investigation.
But that parent, the victim’s mother, has filed a lawsuit against the school district in which the parent claims the school, and one coach in particular, either knew or should have known about the previous incidents.
The lawsuit, which was filed originally in March and then amended Aug. 27, says the school district was “guilty of willful and wanton misconduct” in allowing students “with a history of sexually assaulting and battering students of Plano High School” to be at the school, including in the locker room.
It says the district failed to remove those students from the school, and “failed to adequately warn” the victim of the presence of those students at the school.
The mother amended the lawsuit in August to include as a defendant the student who did the penetrating and his parents as part of the lawsuit. She also claims in the suit that the offender’s parents should have been able to restrain their son from his behavior.
In the suit, the mother says her son “has experienced physical pain, mental suffering, emotional distress, disability, disfigurement and loss of a normal life …”
The school district in May filed a response to that first part of the lawsuit, saying there is no evidence that anyone knew about any incidents before February. The response says employees, coaches and teachers “were not on notice” and “did not know” about any previous behavior from the students involved.
The investigation remains open because investigators think there might be some previous victims no one yet knows about.
Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis has said there have been indications through the investigation that there would be incidents dating back to 2010.
The five students charged are not currently attending Plano High School. One was removed last February, and the other four were removed in August, according to school officials.
Eaves said he is satisfied the school has taken greater security measures to assure the safety of students. At the beginning of this week, high school officials welcomed parents to make an appointment to come in and get a tour of the school, and to see the new security measures.
Principal Eric Benson said Friday no parents have taken the school up on the offer as of yet.