Lawsuit: La Vernia ISD coach ignored screams of student as teammates sexually assaulted him

Lawsuit asking for more than $1 million in damages

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist
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LA VERNIA, Texas - A new lawsuit filed in federal court late last month alleges La Vernia Independent School District failed to investigate the repeated sexual assault of a student.

According to the lawsuit, the alleged victim, identified under the pseudonym of "John Doe," was sexually assaulted by his La Vernia High School basketball teammates "over 30 times" over a period of five months beginning in October 2016.

The lawsuit, filed Jan. 23, alleges a coach was aware of at least two of the sexual assaults, but did nothing.

In one of the incidents, Doe was getting ready in an opponent's locker room before a game when two of his teammates subdued him and groped and sexually assaulted him. Doe said he remembers "screaming and yelling as loud as he could," and when he returned to the court after the assault, he was met by laughing teammates and one of his coaches.

"It was clear (the coach) heard the screaming and yelling," the lawsuit claims. "(The coach), however, ignored the assault and did nothing."

In another incident, Doe claims he was sexually assaulted by upperclassmen in the La Vernia High School locker room and that a coach was present. 

The complaint states that the coach saw the assault and unwanted advances and "walked away and allowed such sexual assault to continue."

According to the lawsuit, the assaults continued to the point where Doe began showering with his underwear on to help deter or prevent future sexual assaults.

The suit claims employees of the district failed to properly investigate and respond to the assaults and seeks more than $1 million from the district.

A separate federal lawsuit filed against the district mounts similar allegations against La Vernia ISD.

At least 13 students were arrested in March and April of 2017 and charged with sexual assault following an investigation into alleged student-on-student sexual assaults dating back to 2014.

In May 2017, the district announced it would investigate if any teachers or coaches should also be held responsible.

In November 2017, Dr. Jose Moreno, the La Vernia ISD superintendent resigned. Moreno will be paid more than $89,000 as part of a separation agreement, according to records released by the district.

San Antonio story ideas and tips can be emailed to mmedina@ksat.com

READ THE LAWSUIT HERE

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