HS Haze Suit Says Adults Dropped Ball

Daily News

Three Long Island high school football players who were sexually assaulted at a camp last summer accused school officials, coaches, the three attackers and their parents of negligence in a lawsuit filed yesterday. The suit, which followed a grand jury's scathing criticism last week of Mepham High School officials and coaches, charged that adults should have protected the victims. "They knew about hazing, they were worried about hazing, they failed to take proper steps to prevent the hazing," said David Woycik, an attorney for one of the victims. The suit called ringleader Ken Carney, 16, a "particularly vicious and violent person" with a documented history of fighting and threatening classmates. Yet he was sent to the football camp in Preston Park, Pa., because school Superintendent Thomas Caramore, Principal John Didden and five coaches tolerated a tradition of hazing, the suit alleges. Two other varsity players, Phil Sofia, 17, and Tom Diasparra, 16, are named in the suit, along with their parents, who "knew that their sons were vicious bullies," said attorney Michael Rubin. Attorneys for the defendants either could not be reached or declined to comment yesterday on the suit, which seeks unspecified damages. During court appearances in November, all three teens admitted their roles in the brutal attacks on two 13-year-olds and a 14-year-old during football camp. In January, a Pennsylvania judge sentenced Carney, to a juvenile detention center for four months and Sofia to a four-month stint at a boot camp. Diasparra, who cut a plea deal with prosecutors, got probation. Last week a grand jury in Pennsylvania released a report saying it was "appalled and sickened" by the attacks. Though it did not criminally charge the coaches, it found they "displayed a lack of common sense accountability" in running the camp.