Hazing Lawsuits: When Good Fun Goes Too Far

By shamieh law | On

Merriam-Webster defines hazing as “an initiation process involving harassment.” In some cases, this harassment can come in the form of life-altering abuse. There is no more helpless feeling than knowing your child has been victimized. However, when an institution attempts to limit their legal exposure, a hazing lawsuit can become yet another assault on the victim. But with increasing incidents of injury, sexual assault, and even hazing-related death, these hazing lawsuits are necessary to stop these dangerous “traditions” from continuing.

Is Hazing Really That Bad?

Ask your friends who experienced “Greek Life” as part of their college experience, and they very well may recount years of positive brother/sisterhood bonds that remain throughout their adult lives. That bond starts with an initiation process many consider fundamental to maintaining the hierarchy within these organizations and fueling their respective belief systems. However, when “initiation” goes too far, the result is hazing.

Hazing has been associated with over 50 deaths around the country. Physical and emotional injuries reported by young men and women include emotional disturbances, depression, anxiety and paralysis. Frequently, hazing includes physical, emotional, and even sexual abuse. Because of the peer pressure and bullying that accompanies this, victims and witnesses are often very reluctant to report these crimes.

Lake Zurich Hazing Symptomatic of Nationwide Problem

The hazing among the Lake Zurich High School football team included sexual assault and acts of degradation, according to a federal hazing lawsuit filed by two alleged victims. Not only did coaches and administrators allegedly ignore the abuse, but these hazing practices go back at least 20 years.

The hazing lawsuit alleges football players slapped teammates in the face with their genitals, urinated on them, and forced teammates to perform oral sex on each other. In addition to seeking damages in excess of $50,000, the hazing lawsuit seeks to require anti-hazing training for district coaches, teachers and staff; educational assemblies for students; and the establishment of a database to track hazing and bullying complaints. It’s certainly a start.

Code of Silence

Most hazing rituals include a “code of silence,” meant to coverup illegal activities under the guise of “traditions.” Because of the code of silence, hazing incidents are complex cases that require extensive investigation. Because of the complicated nature of these cases, it is best to enlist the help of an experienced hazing lawsuit attorney, who can investigate claims in ways the school is often unwilling or unable to do.

Contact Shamieh Law

Hazing creates a culture of secret keeping about abuse. When you report a hazing crime, it’s often at the risk of being victimized further by an institution attempting to protect its reputation. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced hazing lawsuit attorney in your corner.

If you or someone you love have been victimized by abusive hazing rituals, call an experienced attorney to thoroughly investigate your case, and get you the justice you deserve. Contact us today at 214-888-3333 to schedule a consultation.