LA PUENTE — Authorities are investigating allegations of sexual hazing among boys’ soccer players at La Puente High School, according to school district and sheriff’s officials.
The allegations involve incoming freshman players being sodomized with foreign objects by older students, according to CBS Los Angeles.
One alleged victim of the abuse was sent to a hospital for treatment as a result of the alleged hazing, an official from the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District said.
“Detectives from the Special Victims Bureau are investigating allegations of hazing within a varsity sports program at La Puente High School,” Sgt. Al Frejo of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau said in a written statement issued late Saturday.
Frejo described the potential victims of the crimes as an “unknown number” of 14- and 15-year-old boys.
“The hazing incidents have gone on for several years and may have risen to the level of a crime,” Frejo said. “At this point there is no information to indicate that any member of faculty or coaching staff were directly involved.”
Sheriff’s officials released no further information and did not confirm the alleged hazing was sexual in nature or that it involved players being sodomized, as reported by CBS. However, the Special Victims Bureau specializes in investigating sex crimes.
Sheriff’s officials would not say if any students had been arrested in connection with the allegations.
“This is really a shock to the school, the district and the board members,” Hacienda La Puente Unified School District board president Joseph Chang said Sunday.
Chang said that after the district learned of allegations of sexual hazing about two weeks ago, district officials notified the sheriff’s department.
The district also launched an internal investigation, including looking into whether similar activities were taking place in other sports programs or at other schools in the district, Chang said. So far, he said, no similar allegations have surfaced elsewhere.
“The school district takes this very seriously,” Chang said, adding that he was disturbed by the allegations. “This is really something that should not happen in any school. We always try to maintain a safe and healthy learning environment for the students.”
No school or district staff members were believed to be involved in the hazing, Chang said.
“According to all the interviews (so far), they were not aware of these activities,” he said.
La Puente High School sent a letter home to parents Friday informing them of the investigation and encouraging them to speak with their children about it, Chang said. The district has also made counselors available to potentially affected students.
Hacienda La Puente Unified School District officials, including the superintendent and soccer coach, could not be reached for comment over the weekend.
La Puente High School, 15615 E, Nelson Ave., serves about 1,560 students.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau at 877-710-5273, or by email at email@example.com.