Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, New Jersey, is facing a lawsuit filed by a former member of the school’s wrestling team. In his 12-count lawsuit, the student alleges he was thrown off the wrestling team after complaining to the school administration about sexual abuse he experienced during the wrestling season.
He claims the school failed to thoroughly investigate his complaints or notify the proper authorities, putting other students at risk. At the time of the alleged abuse, the school’s wrestling team was nationally-ranked.
Allegations of Abuse
In the civil lawsuit filed in Bergen County Superior Court, the plaintiff alleges that school’s head wrestling coach referenced his physical appearance, made inappropriate comments, and told the boy he loved him in texts and e-mails. The student also claims the school’s assistant wrestling coach showed him and other members of the team “pornographic and nude” photos on his mobile phone.
The boy’s parents say another assistant wrestling coach previously dismissed for “bullying and other allegations” was permitted in the wrestling room. Though the lawsuit was filed on behalf of one wrestler, the complaint mentions at least 100 other potential unnamed victims. Attorneys for the plaintiff expect many more victims to come forward with their own claims of abuse.
Through a spokesperson, the school says they have no tolerance for the behaviors mentioned in the lawsuit. The spokesperson goes on to say the allegations were reported to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Archdiocese of Newark as soon as the school received them. In their statement, the school administration calls the allegations “unfounded, frivolous, and untrue.”
In response to the civil complaint, Bergen Catholic’s head wrestling coach issued a statement through his lawyer calling the allegations “demonstrably false” and suggesting they have more to do with revenge on behalf of a student unable to compete as a wrestler than sexual harassment.
Harassment and Abuse
Students should feel safe in school every day. Sexual harassment impacts victims emotionally, mentally, and physically. Students exposed to sexual abuse and harassment at school can hold not just the teacher, but also the school district accountable. If it is proven the school knew of the allegations against the wrestling coaches and failed to investigate, report, or take some sort of action to prevent the abuse, they may be held liable in court.
Red Bank Sexual Harassment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Protect Abuse Victims
If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in school or on the job, the Red Bank sexual harassment lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. will advocate for you. We are prepared to take on your school district or employer on your behalf.
Call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.