Lawsuit alleges Weston FC soccer player sodomized on team trip
Lawyer for teen says soccer club aware of past hazing
WESTON, Fla. – A lawsuit claims a 14-year-old member of a youth soccer club was sodomized during a trip to Colombia as part of a hazing ritual.
The lawsuit, filed May 29 in Broward County court, seeks damages against the Weston FC soccer club, its staff and the chaperones of the January trip.
According to the complaint, the 14-year-old boy was sodomized "by older boys and young adults" after returning from dinner Jan. 29 at the Hotel Lagoon in Antigua, Colombia.
READ: Weston FC lawsuit
The lawsuit claims the teenager's alleged attackers approached him in the hallway on the third floor of the hotel and carried him into his hotel room, threw him face down on the bed and sodomized him with a Sharpie marker.
According to the lawsuit, several of the alleged perpetrators stood guard during the incident. They then threatened the teen and his roommates not to tell anyone about what had happened.
The lawsuit claims Weston FC staff should have known about the risk of hazing, noting that they "were aware that hazing had occurred on prior trips," and were negligent in the supervision of the children on the trip.
"It's my hope as a parent that the club, assuming that they're going to continue to engage in these trips and competitions, that they appreciate that they've got a duty and an obligation to these children," the teen's attorney, Andy Yaffa, told Local 10 News. "If they're going to be taking these kids on international trips, you need to have the appropriate personnel to protect them and ensure that incidents like this don't happen. History cannot repeat itself. We cannot let this happen to anybody else."
A statement from Audrey Young, spokeswoman on behalf of Weston FC, said the soccer club has a "zero-tolerance policy for unsportsmanlike behavior, harassment, bullying, intimidation or violence of any kind" and has "suspended all players alleged to have been involved."
"Weston FC has absolutely no knowledge of any past hazing or sexual misconduct, will continue to support and sympathize with the alleged victim and his family, but will vigorously defend this unwarranted action against the club," the statement continued.
Yaffa said Weston FC sent the alleged attackers home and failed to report it to police in Colombia.
"How anybody could say this lawsuit is unwarranted is unbelievable," Yaffa said. "This young man was attacked while he was in the custody and control of the club and the adults that were supposed to be watching and guarding these kids. If they're saying that they had no knowledge of prior sexual attacks or prior hazing, then they're not paying attention."
The teen's parents contacted the Broward Sheriff's Office, but deputies said they can't do anything about it since the alleged attack happened in Colombia.
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