DIETRICH, IDAHO–In this shocking story, a teen boy was violently sexually assaulted on October 22nd, 2015 by three high school football teammates. He was hospitalized from the injuries at that time. The victim’s identity is withheld to protect him as an underage sexual abuse victim. We do know that he is a 17 year old African-American high school student with some developmental problems. His adoptive parents are white and so is the town of Dietrich, predominately.
The assault happened in the football locker room at Dietrich High when a student lured the victim in by offering him a hug. There was one witness. As the boy opened his arms for an embrace, he was attacked by the three assailants who beat him before anally raping him with a coat hanger. During the attack, one youth kicked the coat hanger multiple time in a malicious and successful attempt to severely injure the boy. The witness reported in court that the students were laughing as they assaulted the victim.
The attack happened after months of apparent abuse, not just from the three students, but from the entire school football team, in class, from teachers, and from coaches. Some of the abuse leading up to the sexual assault included name calling and violence. It is reported that the coach of the foot ball team forced the victim to wear boxing gloves to spar with with one of the offenders (weeks before the incident) in the center of a crowd of other students. In another instance, the boy was beat into unconsciousness while surrounded again by white onlookers, some adults present. In another instance, a violent wedgie was given, with well past the acceptable level of force. During these incidences, racial slurs were often shouted, such as the “N” word, and watermelon eater, as well as other racially motivated insults.
Three students are officially being charged, including John R.K. Howard, 18, of Keller, Texas, and 17-year-old Tanner Ward who made there initial appearance in the Lincoln County Magistrate Court to be arraigned in May 2016. He and Ward are both charged as adults with felony forcible penetration by use of a foreign object. The third student is being tried as a juvenile so his records are sealed. The two older students could face life in prison, but this is no guarantee.
The lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court in Idaho alleges that one of the attackers sports the Confederate flag frequently and that he forced the victim in yet another instance to recite a racist song used by the KKK. The lawsuit is not just directed at the Dietrich High School, it also names 11 employees who willfully encouraged racial hatred amongst the young adults, failing their jobs as teachers and mentors.