The new lawsuit, filed on behalf of three former players and a student manager, claims that several of the athletes implicated in many of the assaults regularly brought guns to the locker room and other school-sponsored events.
Two former New Mexico State University basketball players have filed a lawsuit claiming that their teammates regularly brought guns into school locker rooms, where players were regularly subjected to sexual assault as a strategy to keep athletes “humble.”
According to The Associated Press, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of former student-athlete Kyle Feit and another two unnamed plaintiffs, including another player and a student manager.
Feit, the only plaintiff to have revealed his name, says that he chose not to remain anonymous because “his interest in speaking out and holding all of the defendants accountable outweighs his desire to protect his personal privacy interests.”
The complaint, filed earlier this week in a Las Cruces-based federal court, claims that New Mexico State athletics officials—including its sports director, Mario Moccia—either tacitly tolerated recurring sexual assaults, or failed to do their due diligence in preventing them.
Feit, along with the other two anonymous plaintiffs, named three other players—DeShawndre Washington, Doctor Bradley, and Kim Aiken Jr.—as serial and prolific predators, who initiated and encouraged many of the alleged assaults.
All three men are named as co-defendants in the lawsuit.
The Associated Press notes that some of the allegations in the lawsuit are similar to those made in another lawsuit against the school, settled earlier this year with former players Shak Odunewu and Deuce Benjamin.
Both players involved in the earlier lawsuit, as well as Benjamin’s father, received an estimated $8 million in compensation.
The latest complaint now asserts that firearms were regularly brandished by some New Mexico State basketball players, both in the locker room and during other team events.
“Despite the clear prohibition regarding guns, a number of men’s basketball players carried guns, taking them into the locker room, on buses to games on other campuses, and elsewhere. The guns were often openly and conspicuously on display,” lawsuit alleges. “The players who owned and carried guns would openly discuss their guns and history of gun use, and share stories and video of their shooting practice.”
Some players purportedly used their personal firearms to intimidate other teammates. Feit, for instance, says that he had handguns pointed at him “from inside car windows” at least three times while walking across campus.
Attorneys for the men said that Feit was so disturbed by the continuing sexual assaults and threats of violence that he almost quit the team. However, his decision was precluded by the abrupt cancelation of the school’s basketball season in February.
“It became difficult for Kyle Feit to focus on basketball and he felt like he was losing his love for the sport,” the complaint says. “Going to the gym had always been a safe and positive place, and it was no longer. His game suffered, as did his well-being.”
Feit identified Washington, Bradley, and Aiken Jr. as “perpetrators” of abusive behavior, and described the steps he took to try to and minimize his chances of being victimized.
“Kyle Feit tied his pants tightly every day so they couldn’t pull them off,” the complaint states. “He had seen it happen to others. The first time he was attacked, Kyle was tackled to the floor and held down, unable to free himself, by Washington, Aiken, and Bradley. Washington tried to pull his pants down, but he couldn’t. He grabbed Kyle’s testicles and squeezed them hard, inflicting pain and humiliation as Kyle fought to get away.”
Feit was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, moving away from campus before signing with a professional basketball team in Israel.
He has since returned home, citing concerns over Israel’s siege on Gaza and ongoing conflict with Hamas.
“His PTSD was triggered by the war in Israel, resulting in him living in constant fear and worsening his condition,” the lawsuit alleges.
Feit and his co-plaintiffs are seeking compensation from New Mexico State University, as well as judgments against athletics officials and former teammates.
“By doing nothing, Athletic Director Moccia, Coach Heiar, and his staff emboldened and empowered Aiken, Bradley, and Washington, giving them substantial power over their teammates,” the complaint says. “That power was used to commit acts of sexual assault and battery against multiple student-athletes and student volunteers.”