Plainfield Central coaches knew about ‘Code Blue’ football hazing ritual: lawsuit

Two former freshman players who claimed they were sodomized by varsity players in 2019 have sued Plainfield District 202.

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Plainfield Central High School

Plainfield Central High School

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A violent hazing ritual that led to misdemeanor charges against four Plainfield Central football players had been a tradition for years at the far southwest suburban high school, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by two former freshman players who claim they were sodomized with a broomstick in the locker room in 2019.

Some 15 to 20 varsity players chanted “Code Blue” as two freshman players were forcibly held down and assaulted in October 2019, according to the lawsuit, which identifies the victims as Child Doe A and B.

“They stuck their head in the sand and allowed young men to be sodomized by varsity football players with broomsticks in a disgusting and reprehensible high school football ritual known as ‘Code Blue,’” attorney Antonio Romanucci said during an online news conference. 

“When will the educational community finally wake up and stop this practice of hazing, bullying and sexual assault for the sake of bonding and a winning football record during the school year?”

Four students at Plainfield Central in 2019 were charged with misdemeanors in connection with the incidents. The victims and their assailants all were minors at the time of the assault, according to lawyers for the victims. The status of those cases was not immediately known. The lawsuit states that the four varsity players involved in the incident were handed three-day suspensions and no other punishment.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, claims coaches at the school were aware of the practice of sexually assaulting freshman players, and even recognized the phrase “Code Blue” as the name of the ritual. One of the players involved in the assault told Child Doe A that he had endured similar abuse when he was a freshman. 

Lawyer Ian Fallon said that “dozens and dozens” of Plainfield students had endured similar abuse over the years. 

The lawsuit contends school administrators and coaches failed to follow school policies and state laws involving hazing and bullying during the investigation of the incident and in punishing the varsity players involved. Will County prosecutors have said that the alleged assaults did not meet the legal requirements for criminal hazing charges.

A spokesman for Plainfield District 202 said district officials would not comment on pending litigation.

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