Mater Dei footballers attack student athlete, lawsuit says


Mater Dei High School student athlete suffered a broken jaw in an attack orchestrated by a classmate and carried out by two football players who repeatedly punched him in the head and face, according to a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court.

The details of the beating, described in a lawsuit in May and first reported this week, follow weeks of controversy over the conduct of players and adults involved in Santa Ana’s soccer program. A lawsuit filed late last month accused the school of a culture of hazing following a heated locker room altercation that left a new player with a traumatic brain injury.

Mater Dei, the country’s No.1 consensus team, will play the State Championship against San Mateo Serra on Saturday.

The athlete’s broken jaw lawsuit was first reported by the Orange County Register. The complaint describes an “orchestrated attack” in 2019 planned by a Mater Dei student who “mistakenly” believed that a basketball player shared an embarrassing video of him online.

The student reunited with the basketball player on a Sunday night through mutual friends who hung out with him in Irvine, according to the lawsuit. The student shared the address with two soccer players, intending to use their “physical strength and presence” to intimidate and injure the player, according to the lawsuit.

As the basketball player made his way to his Uber, soccer players confronted him on the front lawn and punched him in the back of the head, according to the complaint. They then repeatedly punched him in the head and face, knocking him to the ground and leaving him disoriented, according to the lawsuit.

The basketball player ended up with a broken jaw and “serious” injuries to the back of his head, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit names the two players accused of committing the assault – a linebacker and a defensive lineman for Mater Dei – as well as the classmate accused of planning it. The Times does not name them, nor the student who filed the complaint, as they were minors at the time of the alleged assault.

David Nisson, a lawyer representing the two footballers, said he could not discuss the details as the case involves minors. But he wrote in a September court filing that the basketball player had “consumed an excessive amount of alcohol which made him unable to care for his safety or that of others at the time of the alleged incident.”

Nisson also wrote in the court file that his clients were acting in self-defense after the basketball player allegedly led a crowd to attack them and that they “used only the minimum amount of force necessary to defend themselves against a crowd. striker they thought they wanted to kill them. ”

Mater Dei and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange are not named as parties to the lawsuit. Mater Dei president Father Walter Jenkins did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Mater Dei is still grappling with the fallout from a lawsuit filed late last month that accused the school and the diocese of negligence, violation of California anti-hazing laws and emotional distress.

Filed by the family of a former footballer, the complaint described a culture of hazing and a “rigorous and ruthless” attitude in an institution that “protects its sporting reputation at all costs”.

The student’s injury stems from a “Bodies” fight on February 4 in which two players clash and slash each other on the chest until one player “can’t take it anymore and gives up”, he said. declared the trial. The student, a junior who joined the team the previous fall, agreed to be part of an “effort to fit in and show he’s tough enough,” according to the complaint.

During the bout, the student was repeatedly punched in the head by a larger player, according to the lawsuit. The student’s teammates subsequently followed him into the bathroom and warned him not to snitch, according to the lawsuit.

When a sports coach finally examined the student’s injuries, he said he had hit his face against a sink. The lawsuit alleges that the trainer did not call for medical assistance and did not contact the parents of the plaintiff for 90 minutes.

The school said it would hire an outside company to conduct an independent investigation into the incident.

Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd spitzer said last week that his office had not laid criminal charges in the locker room brawl because there was “no evidence of hazing or any other crime we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt.” His opponent in next year’s election has called for a child endangerment investigation against Mater Dei’s football coach Bruce Rollinson.

A few days after the complaint was filed, the Monarchs won the Southern Section Championship of the California Interscholastic Federation. Asked about roller coaster week, Rollinson said, “I just won a CIF Championship. It doesn’t get any better than that.


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