La Vernia, Texas—population 1,200—has struggled to emerge from a cloud that covered the sports-obsessed town after rape allegations involving its most gifted athletes went public almost one year ago.
Now, a new family has filed a lawsuit against the school district, claiming that a La Vernia coach witnessed and ignored two violent sexual assaults suffered by their son while he was on its basketball team.
The complaint alleges that a boy, listed as John Doe, was sexually assaulted more than 30 times between October 2016 and February 2017 in the La Vernia High School locker room, a shower at the school, during basketball practice, at other schools’ gyms, before and after basketball games, and after team dinners at other families’ homes.
All the while, according to the documents, Doe says he was threatened by teammates between assaults that they were “going to get you.”
In February of last year, a La Vernia student told local police he was sexually assaulted by varsity athletes. Ultimately, police found that the alleged abuse—perpetrated by players on the high school’s baseball, football, and basketball teams—targeted at least 10 victims and spanned more than three years. The full scale of the assaults is not yet publicly known, but it has roiled the tiny town about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.
(The Texas Rangers and the State Attorney General’s Office have said the investigation is ongoing, but provided few other details.)
Varsity players on all three teams were accused of sodomizing younger teammates with baseball bats, flashlights, and carbon-dioxide tanks. A total of 13 students—six of them legally considered adults—were arrested and charged with either sexual assault or sexual assault of a child.