FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – An elite South Florida soccer club is facing alarming allegations after some of its older players are accused of sexually assaulting a younger player as part of a hazing ritual.
The alleged assault occurred last January during a Weston FC Soccer Club’s team trip to Colombia.READ MORE: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Unemployment, Vaping Bills
Several of the older players reportedly cornered the 14-year-old and his roommates in a third-floor hallway of the hotel and forced them into their room.
“Some of the older kids from his club decided to attack he and his roommates,” said family attorney Andy Yaffa. “His roommates were forced into the room, held down and told to watch while the older kids, unfortunately, sodomized this young man.”
Yaffa has filed a civil lawsuit against the club and the players accused of committing the assault.
Yaffa said based on the stories they have heard, this sort of behavior was not new to the club.
“It is disgusting, it is horrific and it’s an attack that no child and nobody should endure,” he said.
Yaffa said when the coach learned of the attack he contacted the organization and a decision was made to send the accused players home. However, police in Colombia were never called about the alleged assault.
When the 14-year-old returned home he and his parents filed a report on the incident with the Broward sheriff’s officeREAD MORE: Area Businesses Looking To Benefit From Fort Lauderdale Air Show
In that report the player claimed the older players were routinely ‘hazing and verbally assaulting younger members of the club.’
He said he was “grabbed, picked up and carried into his room by 6 older members of the team.”
And that the players “forcefully removed his pants and underwear.”
Weston FC released a statement that reads:
“Weston FC has a zero-tolerance policy for un-sportsman like behavior, harassment, bullying, intimidation, or violence of any kind; therefore, when we received a report of an incident on a recent international trip, Weston FC immediately suspended all players alleged to have been involved and promptly made a report to the US Center for SafeSport as required by federal law and our National Governing Body. Weston FC has absolutely no knowledge of any past hazing or sexual misconduct will continue to support and sympathize with the alleged victim and his family, but will vigorously defend this action.”
Despite the scandal, some soccer parents say they have an open mind.
Ruben Jimenez says his son has played for six years.MORE NEWS: Going To The Fort Lauderdale Air Show This Weekend? Here's What You Need To Know
“I’m not gonna take him out,” he said. “My son has traveled a lot. It’s unfortunate what happened but I trust the club.”