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Lawsuit alleges hazing among baseball players at Goleta high school

Posted at 1:10 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 19:12:44-04

A former Dos Pueblos High School baseball player has filed a personal injury lawsuit against two former teammates and the Santa Barbara Unified School District over allegations of hazing.

According to the lawsuit, in March 2018, members of the baseball team traveled to Rancho Cucamonga for a school-sponsored trip. While staying at a hotel, the lawsuit says at least seven team members, including the two defendants, conspired to produce what is described in the complaint as “a potentially harmful foreign organic substance” from their bodies, spread it on a donut, and make the plaintiff eat it.

The plaintiff reportedly ate at least part of the donut without realizing what was on it. The lawsuit says he didn’t learn what had really happened until rumors started circulating a few months later.

The lawsuit claims other incidents of hazing occurred during the trip and that the coaches never conducted bed checks or enforced a 10 p.m. curfew because they were drinking at a nearby Hooters restaurant.

The lawsuit alleges an ongoing pattern of hazing among the baseball team members. It claims the plaintiff was bullied by the defendants for not wanting to take part in hazing rituals at the beginning of the baseball season and that he told his coach about the bullying. According to the lawsuit, the coach said he would resolve the situation but the bullying became worse.

In June 2018, the donut incident was reported to sheriff’s officials after the principal received an anonymous letter about it.

According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, the incident was investigated and the case was forwarded to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office which decided not to file criminal charges. Sheriff’s officials say, since the incident occurred in San Bernardino County, the Ontario Police Department was also notified. However, the district attorney’s office in that county also declined to file charges.

The sheriff’s office says it launched a follow-up investigation this February after receiving information that two of the baseball players told other team members not to cooperate with the investigation, but the district attorney’s office again declined to file criminal charges.

The lawsuit says the plaintiff has suffered emotional distress, including embarrassment, anxiety, and humiliation. It alleges that the school district failed to “maintain and properly implement a proper anti-hazing and anti-bullying policy.”

KSBY News reached out to officials with the high school and the school district for comment but has yet to receive a response.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages.