Maine Township school board plans independent investigation of hazing allegations
January 7, 2013 11:52PM
Updated: January 14, 2013 5:43PM
Maine Township’s school board president said he expects that an attorney will be hired to conduct an independent investigation of hazing allegations at Maine West High School by the end of the month.
Sean Sullivan said the board would likely approve an agreement with the attorney — whose name he wouldn’t give — at a special meeting later in January. He said the board’s attorney still needs to put the agreement on paper and outline the person’s potential duties.
“I would not think there would be limitations to it,” Sullivan said after the board’s regular meeting Monday, “except for the fact that they’re being retained for the purpose of investigating the issue of Maine West relative to the hazing.”
The issue was on the agenda for Monday’s meeting but never came up in open session.
It has been more than a month since the Cook County state’s attorney’s office announced its sex crimes division had begun a “top-to-bottom” review of hazing allegations at Maine West. Sources also have confirmed for the Sun-Times that grand jury subpoenas have been issued. State child-welfare officials conducted an investigation, as did the Des Plaines Police.
Meanwhile, varsity soccer coach Michael Divincenzo, the man at the center of the scandal, has asked for a hearing where he’s expected to contest the Maine Township High School District 207 board’s vote last month to fire him. The vote left him suspended without pay as the process plays out.
The board accused him of letting varsity soccer players go on a “campus run” where they hazed “less senior” players by assaulting them and sodomizing them with fingers and sticks.
Divincenzo has not made himself available for comment despite multiple requests by the Sun-Times. Further staff discipline hasn’t been ruled out by the school district.
Freshman soccer coach Emilio Rodriguez and Maine West Principal Audrey Haugan also have been named in a lawsuit against the district over the hazing allegations.