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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Family of Proctor assault victim files lawsuit against district and former coaches

The family of the victim in a hazing incident that happened after a 2021 Proctor High School football practice is suing the school district, the previous superintendent, and the coaching staff, over a year after it was first revealed.

The Sept. 6, 2021, incident after practice that led to the suspension of the football season, the sexual assault conviction of former Proctor player Alec Baney, and the resignation of coach Derek Parendo is at the center of the case, which was filed in federal district court on Friday. After entering a plea of guilty to a felony count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in juvenile court, Baney, 18, was sentenced in June to supervised probation until his 21st birthday.

The victim was pinned down by three teammates while Baney sexually attacked him with a plunger after the practice last autumn.

In accordance with its policy of not revealing the parents of sexual assault victims, The News Tribune is not identifying the victim.

The lawsuit claims that toilet plunger hazing practices were a “prevalent practice” “before to, and throughout” Parendo’s tenure as coach. The crime reportedly included touching a victim’s genital region with the rubber component. According to the complaint, another technique included “urinating into the concave area” of the plunger, suctioning it to the ceiling, and then requesting an unwitting player to pull it down.

According to the lawsuit, the district, former Superintendent John Engelking, the activities director, and guidance counselors were all made aware of the practice “on several occasions over the period of many years.”

Furthermore, Parendo claims that the district gave her the go-ahead to remove the plunger from the locker room and warn the squad that hazing would not be permitted before the event from last year.

The lawsuit claims that Parendo and the district failed to take “necessary steps” to stop hazing practices and remove the plunger from the locker area.

The lawsuit admits that Parendo was not present for the session on September 6 and that it was run by unidentified aides.

The coaches left the site as the players changed after the weather forced an early stop to the practice. The victim was caught and held down by multiple players after a short pursuit, according to the lawsuit, while another player sexually attacked him with a plunger.

The victim’s school environment was “offensive, unwelcome, and interfered with” by the attack, which also prevented him from taking use of the district’s educational prospects.

The lawsuit also claims that by downplaying the occurrences and neglecting to warn staff and student-athletes about the risks of hazing, the defendants “condoned student-on-student sexual and physical” abuse.

According to the lawsuit, the victim “suffered shame, humiliation, fear of revenge, intimidation, breach of trust, anxiety, sadness, and pain and suffering.”

At least $75,000 in damages are being sought by the family.

Parendo, who put in his application for the Proctor school board on August 16, refuses to respond to questions for this story. Engelking did not answer a message that was left for him.

An investigation by the 2021 News Tribune uncovered a history of bullying and harassment among Proctor football players that dated back over 30 years, but no occurrences involving a plunger.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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