The Texas Rangers have taken over the investigation of alleged sexual assaults by student athletes in La Vernia, a town of 1,200 people about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio. Ten students have been arrested and charged in connection with the hazing. Monday night the superintendent addressed the community.
In the high school cafeteria, La Vernia ISD Superintendent Dr. Jose Moreno called the allegations of sexual assault by varsity athletes a tragedy. He told the crowd of about 100 community members and parents the horrific allegations will not define the community.
“We’ll be defined by the commitment to excellence that we have for our students and our community," he says. "We will be defined by the generations of families born and raised here in La Vernia. We will be defined on how we come together as a community to continue moving forward. We’re all hurt and that’s obvious and that’s why we’re all here this evening.”
Beyond that Moreno disclosed few details about the investigation and the school district’s response. He would not say whether any adults in the district knew of the hazing or what the district is specifically doing to help traumatized students and make changes in the athletic programs.
What is known is that a person first reported the possible assaults to school officials on Feb. 17, and the district then notified local law enforcement.
The assaults have reportedly occurred over a three-year period. Police say at least 10 possible victims have come forward.
At the Monday night meeting only one parent , Paula Thompson, spoke openly to the school board.
“I hope the victims are getting counseling. They also need to know how brave and courageous they are to come forward. These boys are the type others should look up to.”
Moreno said the 10 suspects are no longer attending classes at the high school. It’s unclear whether authorities will make further arrests.