December trial date set for ex-Maine West soccer coach
BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter October 15, 2013 10:52AM
Updated: October 15, 2013 3:48PM
A Cook County judge has set a trial date of Dec. 17 for a former Maine West High School soccer coach charged in a hazing scandal at the school.
Prosecutors charged Michael Divincenzo, 37, of Elk Grove Village, in May with misdemeanor battery, hazing and failure to report abuse. Divincenzo has denied guilt “of any kind,” and his attorney, Thomas Breen, said Tuesday, “I’ve yet to see why or how he got charged.”
The charges against Divincenzo — which prosecutors say are unique — revolve around similar reported incidents in June, August and September of 2012.
Prosecutors said students at the school in Des Plaines would push others to the ground, hold them down and, in some cases, sodomize their victims through their underwear. Prosecutors said the victims were attacked by students under Divincenzo’s supervision, and that he knew about the initiations and failed to report them.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez also said she dropped misdemeanor charges filed last year against six teens — the alleged perpetrators of the hazing assaults — because it was clear the victims didn’t want to press charges against their peers.
In addition to the criminal charges, the hazing allegations have so far cost Divincenzo his job and led to the filing of two lawsuits against the coach, Maine West High School’s principal, Maine Township High School District 207, and a former freshman soccer coach the school board has also voted to fire.