Federal lawsuit alleges history of hazing at Huntington ISD

Federal lawsuit alleges history of hazing at Huntington ISD
Huntington ISD Resumes

HUNTINGTON, TEXAS (KTRE) - A lawsuit filed in federal court on Aug. 6 alleges a long history of hazing at Huntington ISD in regards to the athletic program.

Fort Worth based attorneys Hutchison and Story, PLLC represent a minor in the case and claim that Huntington ISD should be held liable under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, after the minor claims to have been sexually assaulted by a fellow student. The lawsuit does not have any names of students involved and used only pseudonyms. The lawsuit is seeking a jury trial.

The lawsuit claims, “HISD has had a longstanding culture of tolerating and even encouraging bullying and hazing behavior.”

When called Friday afternoon, Huntington ISD Superintendent David Flowers said he had not heard of the federal lawsuit or been served any documentation. Flowers also said the school board president had not received any paperwork and they could not comment until the district was able to look over the allegations.

In January, Flowers suspended the baseball program after allegations were brought up of hazing incidents that might have been criminal.

According to the original press release: “On Thursday, January 24, 2019, the Huntington High School principal was made aware of allegations of inappropriate contact, including hazing and possible assault, among various members of the HISD baseball team. An investigation was immediately commenced and remedial measures put in place to ensure the safety of all HISD students, including removing alleged offenders from campus and suspension of all baseball team activities until the investigation is complete.”

On Feb. 12, the baseball program was brought back after the school completed their investigation. However, the criminal investigation continued. Flowers said all steps had been taken to ensure player safety including removing suspects in the incident from campus and extracurricular activities. When the team was brought back, it was made known that head coach Richard Martinez was not coming back and had been reassigned in the district. Martinez has since been brought back to the baseball program.

In March, 17-year-old student Mario Martinez was given three indictments in the case. In a previous story, Angelina County District Attorney Joe Martin said that the three indictments include four charges. The first indictment was for second-degree felony attempted sexual assault against one alleged victim. The second one was for the same charge, but it was regarding a second alleged victim.

The third indictment is for one count of first-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree attempted sexual assault.

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