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Student sues former St. Edward High School, claims teammate sexually assaulted him

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 6:07 AM EDT
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LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WOIO) - A 17-year-old has sued his former Cleveland-area high school, after the student said he was sexually assaulted numerous times by a former teammate.

According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, the teen previously attended St. Edward High School on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood.

The document stated the former student’s parents reported the sexual assaults to the school’s administration. But, the family said the private high school didn’t thoroughly investigate the matter.

According to the lawsuit, the incidents involving the former student took place in 2019 when the teenager was a freshman at St. Edward’s.

The document said the teen was sexually assaulted on five separate occasions by an “older and physically stronger” cross-country teammate. It also stated other members of the team laughed while watching the plaintiff get hazed.

According to the lawsuit, the former student was assaulted three times during a cross-country camp, once at a hotel while the team was out of town for a meet, and once during a pre-meet dinner.

None of the students were named in the lawsuit. The former teammate accused of sexual assault was referred to as “Delinquent 1.”

According to the document, Delinquent 1, while at the team dinner, followed the plaintiff into the bathroom and threw him to the floor. The document then stated Delinquent 1 pinned the plaintiff’s arms and “simulated anal sex” in front of other students.

“Delinquent 1 and other students then mocked Plaintiff and openly laughed about the assault upon returning to the team dinner,” according to the lawsuit. The document also stated the plaintiff didn’t report the assault out of “fear and intimidation.”

The lawsuit claimed the final assault was filmed by several students and shared on social media.

The video was discovered by the former student’s parents and immediately reported to St. Edward High School, according to the lawsuit.

The document stated the school assured the former student and his parents that “it turned the matter over to the Lakewood Police Department and was cooperating with its ongoing investigation.”

But, according to the lawsuit, when the family contacted Lakewood Police, they learned the department wasn’t investigating anything. The police department “determined the incidents reported by St. Edward High School were outside of the LPD’s jurisdiction,” the document stated.

In addition to St. Edward High School, the lawsuit also listed Nathan Brannen, James Kubacki, and KC McKenna as defendants.

At the time of the alleged assaults, Brannen was head coach of the school’s track and cross-country teams.

Kubacki was a school employee and president of the school board.

McKenna was serving as the school’s principal and currently remains in that role.

In an email statement to 19 News, McKenna said:

“St. Edward High School (St. Ed’s) has received and is reviewing a lawsuit filed involving our school and a situation that occurred in 2019. While we cannot provide details on pending legal matters and must protect the privacy of our students, it is important to know that we did not learn of these concerns until September 2020.

“When we did, we took immediate action to report to the authorities what was believed to have occurred as we are required to do by law. Further, we took additional steps to conduct an internal investigation, imposed disciplinary actions as appropriate against those involved, and required mandatory training and education for the athletic team involved.

“St. Ed’s takes our responsibility for the safety and well-being of our students seriously. In this case, as with any such claims, we acted swiftly to engage and respond in the best interests of our students.”

According to the lawsuit, the former student sued for “monetary damages for the loss of educational opportunities, humiliation, and emotional and physical distress,” among other things.

The plaintiff also demanded a jury trial, the document stated.

A copy of the lawsuit is included below.

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