Damascus locker room sex assault victims file lawsuit against staff, coaches, school board

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Attorneys for several of the victims of the October 2018 Damascus High School sexual assault announced civil lawsuits were filed on behalf of the victims Thursday morning.

Two victims from the October 2018 locker room sexual assault and a victim in an incident in 2017 are represented in one lawsuit, while another victim from the 2018 assault is represented in a separate lawsuit that attorneys say presents the same facts.

The lawsuit lists three victims and their parents as plaintiffs: John Doe #1, John Doe #2 and John Doe #3.

The defendants are listed as the Montgomery County Board of Education, Casey Crouse, who was the DHS principal at the time of the incident, Vincent Colbert and Eric Wallich, who were football coaches at the time of the incident, and Joseph Doody, who was the athletic director at the time of the incident.

“The lawsuits allege that the coaches, teachers, and administration knew about the Damascus High School tradition of brooming,” said attorney Tom DeGonia.

“Leadership at Damascus High School put a winning football culture ahead of a culture of safety, ahead of protecting their own students, ahead of protecting their own players,” said attorney Tim Maloney.

The lawsuits also allege that one of the assailants in the case was known to have behavioral problems and violent tendencies, but was still allowed to come to Damascus to play football and ultimately acted as a ringleader in the October 2018 brooming incident.

“Violent attacks on teachers, violent attacks on students, armed robbery on a student and hundreds of complaints about his behavior dating back to middle school,” said attorney Tim Maloney.

The suit also alleges that the locker room was inadequately supervised.

Attorneys for the victims say they want justice for the emotional distress, physical injuries, trauma and humiliation their clients faced during and after the alleged incidents.

Billy Murphy said, “what we want is justice and justice in our system can be measured only in dollars and cents.”

The exact amount of monetary damages the victims are looking to get wasn’t exactly specified, other than that the amount they want is more than $75,000.

In November last year, police said Damascus students Jean Claude Abedi, Kristian Lee, Will Daniel Smith and Caleb Thorpe are all facing charges of first-degree rape, attempted first-degree rape and conspiracy to commit first-degree rape. All four were charged as adults. A fifth juvenile suspect is charged as a juvenile, thus will not be identified.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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