Lawsuit alleges sexual hazing on university softball team
May. 20, 2015
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A former softball player at St. Joseph's University claims in a lawsuit that she endured sexually charged hazing so bad that she contemplated suicide and was forced to quit the team.
The federal lawsuit by the unidentified plaintiff against the university and softball coach Terri Adams alleges "a widespread and well-known culture of abusive and sexually charged hazing" on the team.
The plaintiff alleges that during a weeklong hazing period in 2013, the player was subjected to demeaning behavior such as being forced to perform a sexually lewd dance, to ask and answer sexual questions and tell sexual stories. She alleges that she saw other freshman players forced to simulate sex acts.
The suit says players were told midway through the week that administrators had found out about the activities and they were being suspended, but they resumed during the next initiation week the following fall.
The lawsuit alleges that throughout her freshman year and continuing into her sophomore year, she was given demeaning nicknames, harassed and belittled and was "often reduced to tears and began having suicidal thoughts." She said she was eventually forced to quit the team.
The suit alleges that officials were aware of the activities and intimidated and threatened her for trying to draw attention to them.
The university, which earlier suspended the team with three games left in the season amid an investigation into hazing allegations, declined to comment on the lawsuit Wednesday.