A former cadet at Georgia’s Riverside Military Academy is suing the school’s administration for failing to prevent hazing and sexual assault.
NBC News reports that the plaintiff, who was aged 12 to 13 years old at the time of the alleged abuse, is named only as L.A. in the suit. Filed in U.S. District Court on November 15th, L.A.’s lawyer, Martin Glink, asked the court to let the case continue using only the boy’s initials.
L.A., notes NBC, is now 18—and his suit claims Riverside is guilty of “negligent failure to protect” the boy from hazing.
“At times the beatings and physical abuse was inflicted upon L.A. in the presence of Riverside defendants who failed to take strong, and specific action to report and stop the abuse,” the suit states.
Two former cadets named in the suit are each accused of hazing and sexually abusing the ex-student. Their aim, says L.A., was to gain or provide “status” at Riverside Military Academy.
According to L.A., both the cadets who hazed him had a pre-enrolment record of being physically violent and abusive. The boys’ questionable past, claims the suit, should have been grounds to bar them admission to the academy.
The abuse was constant and took on different dimensions, says the suit. L.A. claims his roommate would beat him and “bang his head against the wall.”
Between 2012 and 2013, the same roommate at least once “strongly grabbed his testicles.”
L.A., says NBC, also alleges that his hazing took on a progressively sexual nature. The violence eventually led to rape. The cadet says ‘he was raped and forced to perform oral sex and masturbation on a former classmate.’
While the suit claims that L.A.’s mother and teachers reported the abuse to Riverside’s administrators, they “did little or nothing to protect” him. At one point, an official supposedly downplayed the abuse, simply saying that “boys will be boys.”
Eventually, the abusive roommate was removed and replaced. However, L.A. still withdrew from the academy in April 2013.
A spokeswoman for Riverside, quoted on AJC.com, declined to comment on the litigation.
“The safety and well-being of our cadets is and has always been our priority,” she said. “It is difficult to comment on this matter, since we neither know the details of the allegations nor have we been served with the lawsuit.”
But if the lawsuit’s to be believed, L.A.’s experiences weren’t unique. It charges the academy with having a longstanding attitude of acceptance towards hazing and other forms of assault.
“It was well known at Riverside, and was common knowledge that cadets in the shower required playing ‘drop the soap,’” the suit claims. “If a cadet such as L.A. dropped the soap, others would simulate sexual penetration.”
L.A. and his attorney are seeking “compensatory damages in a sum in excess of $100,000,” punitive damages and a tuition refund for the 2012-2013 school year.