Parents of MN teen subjected to hazing assault are suing

August 23, 2022 GMT

PROCTOR, Minn. (AP) — The parents of a teenage boy who was assaulted after football practice at a Minnesota high school have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming the coach and others failed to protect their son against known hazing.

The September assault resulted in cancellation of Proctor High School’s football season and the resignation of its head coach. An 18-year-old former Proctor student and football player was given probation in June for assaulting the victim with a toilet plunger and must register as a predatory offender for 10 years.

The federal lawsuit alleges the hazing practice was common before and during Derek Parendo’s coaching run. The complaint said other assistant coaches, the athletic director, superintendent and guidance counselors also knew about the practice.

District leaders told Parendo to remove the plunger from the locker room and to advise players on hazing, the complaint says, but the district didn’t take adequate measures to ensure this, the Star Tribune reported.

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Parendo has called the assault an isolated incident and that hazing is part of the district’s “old culture,” which coaches have not discussed.

Superintendent John Engelking has since retired from the district. He has said the district “has never ignored any alleged misconduct toward staff or students that (was) brought to its attention.”

The family is seeking at least $75,000 in damages. The Associated Press is not naming the parents in order to protect the identity of the assault victim.

Proctor is a community of about 3,000 people located near Duluth in northeastern Minnesota.