Fired Maine West soccer coach sues to try to get his job back
BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN Staff Reporter July 8, 2014 7:32PM
Maine West High School in Des Plaines | Sun-Times files
Updated: July 9, 2014 11:59AM
A suburban soccer coach who was fired amid a hazing scandal at Maine West High School is suing to get his job back.
In a lawsuit filed in Cook County court Monday, Emilio Rodriguez claims Maine Township High School District 207 “failed to prove the charges” against him. The suit also claims that Rodriguez’s actions “did not constitute cause” for the firing and that he was not given enough time to fix the alleged problems.
The district determined that Rodriguez had “failed to adequately prevent, report, or otherwise adequately respond to a hazing incident involving Maine West soccer players that occurred September 26, 2012,” the district said in a statement earlier this year.
Named in the lawsuit are the school district, the Illinois State Board of Education and a hearing officer who upheld the district’s decision to fire Rodriguez.
A school district spokesman declined to comment.
A state board of education spokeswoman could not confirm Tuesday evening that the agency had received the lawsuit, but she noted that the agency doesn’t comment on ongoing litigation.
The hearing officer, Jules Crystal, could not be reached.
Former varsity soccer coach Michael Divincenzo also was fired — and criminally charged — over claims that school officials sanctioned a hazing culture in which members of the boys’ soccer team sexually abused their younger teammates by sodomizing them with fingers and sticks.
A judge found Divincenzo not guilty at trial.
A separate civil lawsuit filed against the school district, the school’s principal and the coaches is still pending.
Contributing: Jon Seidel