VALLEJO (CBS SF) – The head football coach at St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School in Vallejo was fired Friday and five varsity football players were expelled because of alleged hazing incidents of a sexual nature that occurred last fall.
School principal Mary Ellen Ryan said in a statement that she was told just before Christmas vacation that members of the team had “engaged in abusive and inappropriate behavior directed at lower classmen and members of the junior varsity team.”
St. Patrick-St. Vincent is a private Catholic school, and Ryan made the statement through the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento.
Diocese spokesman Kevin Eckery said it was head coach and physical education teacher Chris Cerbone who told Ryan of the alleged abuse.
The hazing happened on campus, but Eckery would not discuss the details of what allegedly occurred.
Ryan said that when school resumed in January, school administrators began investigating the incident, interviewing students, families and staff.
Five members of the coaching staff were placed on leave, Ryan said.
“As a result of the investigation, I made the decision to expel five students who had engaged in the abusive behavior, and personally informed those students and their families,” Ryan said.
Four of the coaches who had been placed on leave have since been reinstated, but Cerbone was let go, she said.
The school made the decision to fire Cerbone because he “had ultimate responsibility for supervising the students during the time the inappropriate behavior took place.”
Eckery said Cerbone told school administrators that the hazing was directed at six underclassmen football players and occurred during unsupervised football practices last season.
He said Cerbone did not witness the incidents, but delayed reporting them in December once he became aware of them.
Eckery also said Cerbone claimed another coach knew about the hazing incidents and had failed to act. However, the school’s investigation did not show that any other coaches were aware of what was happening, he said.
Vallejo police have informed the school that they will investigate the incidents, Eckery said.
He said it is up to the parents of the hazing victims whether they will try to have the offending players prosecuted.
Cerbone could not be reached for comment.
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