The small town of Dietrich, Idaho, was shaken Wednesday after details emerged about a case in which three white high school football players were charged with brutally raping a black, mentally disabled teammate, the Washington Post reported.
Authorities detailed a harrowing scene they said played out in a locker room at Dietrich High School last October. The Post wrote:
When a teammate held out his arms after football practice in their high school locker room, the student thought he was about to get a hug.
Instead, he got viciously raped, authorities say.
As the teammate restrained the victim, another football player allegedly thrust a coat hanger into the victim’s rectum, according to a criminal complaint. Then a third teammate kicked the coat hanger several times.
This spring, two of the alleged attackers were charged as adults and could face life in prison, while another was charged as a juvenile.
The disabled teen’s family filed a $10 million lawsuit against the high school this month. It alleged he was called racist names such as “chicken eater,” “Kool-Aid,” “watermelon” and “[N-word],” according to the Post. The paper reported that 18-year-old John R.K. Howard — who was criminally charged as an adult with one count of forcible penetration by use of force or a foreign object — was the alleged ringleader of the abuse and, at one point, forced the victim to sing a racist song.
The case sent a shock wave through the town of a couple of hundred people. After the news broke, the high school received a flood of more than 150 calls and emails, according to KTVB-TV in the Idahoan capital of Boise. Some of the calls were threatening, and the school was placed on high alert. Later, the school was locked down.
The 19-year-old sister of the teen at the center of the case entered the school Wednesday at about 2 p.m. without checking in as a visitor, the Twin Falls Times-News reported. She was reportedly asked to stop, but kept walking. The woman was briefly detained at her nearby house later in the day. However, she wasn’t charged, and her mother later described the incident to the Times-News as a “misunderstanding.” The woman was going to visit a relative who worked there, not to cause trouble, the mother said. Police remained on guard throughout the day, with the lockdown lifted at 5 p.m.