Former athlete suing high school for hazing

June 29, 2009 3:27:02 PM PDT
A former Stevenson High School football player has filed a lawsuit over alleged hazing by other players back in 1999.The former player is suing the school, the players involved in the alleged incidents, and the teams' coaches.

The incident happened a decade ago. The four defendants pled guilty to battery and disorderly conduct charges and fulfilled their sentences.

So, why file a civil suit against them now?

The alleged victim in the case, Stamatios Shinas, says he was waiting for his two younger brothers to graduate from Stevenson High School.

"It's been very embarrassing and lots of psychological...it's very hard to go on everyday," Shinas said.

He struggled to find the words Monday to describe how alleged hazing incidents 10 years ago changed his life, and not for the better.

When he was a sophomore at Stevenson High School in northwest suburban Lincolnshire, Shinas says he was sexually abused in hazing rituals as part of the varsity football team's initiation process.

Four students were charged and punished back in 2000. However, Shinas says he still suffers the psychological effects of the abuse and is filing this civil suit now, not for the money, but he says to seek justice.

"So that this doesn't happen again on the school grounds and so that everyone can play football or the sport that they want in peace," said Shinas.

He also says that he and at least one other sophomore at the time were forced to perform a so-called "atomic sit-up," in which he was sodomized with a banana and broomstick and physically abused, as well.

Shinas is suing not only his former teammates but also the football coaches for allegedly turning a blind eye to the practice.

"The coaches were aware hazing was occurring, aggressive football team, allowed hazing to occur," said Blake Horwitz, the plaintiff's attorney.

Right after the abuse occurred, Shinas quit the football team and withdrew from Stevenson High School. But he has two younger brothers who later attended Stevenson, and he says he wanted to wait until his youngest brother graduated before filing the lawsuit.

"I was afraid that this would happen to them, and they would be embarrassed by knowing that their brother... that this happened to me," Shinas said.

Four former Stevenson High football players are being sued individually in the case. Seven football coaches are named, along with Stevenson High School.

ABC7 contacted Stevenson High School for reaction, and a spokesperson said, 'No comment.'

Shinas says he still sees a therapist frequently because of the abuse, and he's seeking more than $150,000 in damages.


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