• A 17-year-old has sued his former Cleveland-area high school
  • He was allegedly sexually assaulted five times by an older teammate, with other team members filming one incident
  • The school and its officials were accused of mishandling the investigation and ignoring the claims

A 17-year-old is suing his former high school in Cleveland, Ohio, alleging that he was sexually assaulted multiple times by a former teammate and that his complaints were ignored by school officials.

The lawsuit accused St. Edward High School in Lakewood of violating the state's Title IX law, which protects students of schools that receive federal money from sexual discrimination, harassment or assault, local news outlet reported. Neither victim nor the other students involved had been identified in the filing.

The teen was sexually assaulted on five separate occasions by an “older and physically stronger” cross-country teammate, according to the suit filed in the U.S. District Court in Cleveland. Other team members allegedly filmed one incident and shared it on social media.

All the incidents took place in 2019 when the victim was a freshman at St. Edward’s, the document said. Three of them allegedly happened at a running camp, one at a hotel in Daytona while the team was attending a meet and the other one during a team meal.

"The students concocted, rehearsed and delivered a false narrative of ‘boys being boys,’ which the administration was quick to believe," Jeffrey Miller, the victim's attorney, said. "St. Edward High School has not investigated any of the claims by the victim or any of the additional content provided to the school by the victim and his parents."

The alleged assaults started when Nathan Brannen, the team's cross-country running coach, urged the victim to attend a week-long running camp in Bellville with his other teammates. It was there, the suit claimed, that the victim was physically assaulted in a sexual manner by an older team member, who was named Delinquent 1 in the suit. The older boy allegedly threw the victim down, pinned his arms and simulated a sex act in each assault.

The lawsuit said the victim did not report the attack out of fear.

The victim was attacked in a similar manner again in September of that year by Delinquent 1, who followed the victim inside a restroom while the team was attending a pre-meet dinner.

"Delinquent 1 and other students then mocked [the victim] and openly laughed about the assault upon returning to the team dinner," the suit alleged.

The last assault happened weeks later when the team stayed in a hotel in Dayton for a meet. According to the lawsuit, Brannen "assigned the students to rooms, and his supervision then ceased in its entirety." Delinquent 1, along with other team members, allegedly entered the victim's room and attacked him again.

"None of the other students intervened and instead were all heard laughing," the document said, adding that other team members filmed the incident and called the footage the "Rape Video."

The video was then shared online nearly a year later on social media platform Snapchat, where the victim's parents saw it, Fox News reported, citing an obtained copy of the lawsuit.

The parents preserved the video and contacted Brannen, who, upon being told of the incidents, allegedly told them that he only wanted to coach the team and not be responsible for their supervision.

Brannen was then accused of admitting to having knowledge of the incidents at the summer camp and trying to discourage the parents from raising the issue with school administrators.

The parents proceeded to present the evidence of harassment to school board president James Kubacki and principal KC McKenna days later, including video and audio records as well as screenshots that allegedly showed degrading comments against the victim, among other pieces of evidence.

The school officials announced an investigation into the incidents, but Kubacki and McKenna were accused of telling the involved students to delete any evidence from their phones and social media before the probe began.

The lawsuit also alleged that the school investigation was handled by "an individual who was neither qualified nor trained to investigate sexual assault, hazing, bullying."

According to the document, the Lakewood Police Department opened an investigation but determined it had no jurisdiction over the events in Dayton where the "Rape Video" had been recorded.

The suit claimed the victim had been repeatedly subjected to harassment and intimidation, suffering from PTSD as a result and prompting him to leave the school and move with his family elsewhere. He, however, still continued to receive intimidating messages from his alleged abusers and former teammates.

The victim's attorney said Delinquent 1 was still on the track and cross-country running teams, as per The accused faces nine criminal charges in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court over the incidents.

Representation. The victim, a freshman runner at the time, was allegedly assaulted five times by an older team member. Pixabay