The attorney for a former Olympia School District family filed a lawsuit Tuesday tied to alleged hazing involving Capital High School students.
Tacoma attorney Darrell Cochran filed a complaint for an unspecified amount of damages in Thurston County Superior Court on behalf of Amanda Jackson and her teenage son.
The controversy, which erupted in the summer of 2012, cost former Capital High School head boys basketball coach Doug Galloway his coaching job because school officials say he “didn’t provide adequate supervision to ensure the safety and well-being of the students” during a summer basketball camp at Western Washington University in Bellingham.
A campaign by parents and players to have the Olympia School Board reinstate the popular coach was unsuccessful. In addition, the Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges in connection with the incident, which was investigated by the Western Washington University Police Department and classified as an alleged sex crime.
In a copy of the complaint provided to The Olympian, Cochran alleges the district “failed to keep students safe from the foreseeable dangers it created when it left children unsupervised and allowed hazing to occur.”
It states that in the summer of 2010, Jackson’s son, who had just finished eighth grade, was invited to attend a summer league camp in Seaside, Ore.
“One evening of the camp, the coaches left the hotel where the team was staying to drink beer at a local pub,” the suit states. “Left unsupervised by coaches, several members of the basketball team approached (the plaintiff’s son), pinned him down, and physically assaulted him. ...The assault included the digital penetration of his anus.”
It also states that on June 29, 2012, Capital High School’s basketball coaches attended a social off-campus while students were at the dorms at a camp at Western Washington University, and Galloway left two varsity basketball players in charge.
“Later that evening and unsupervised by coaches, several players were gathered in one of the dorm rooms when one of the players said something like ‘Let’s go get the freshman,’ the complaint states. “...At one point, several of the players jumped on the younger boys and physically assaulted them.”
It states that Jackson’s son tried to protect younger students from the sexual touching which players told investigators was referred to as “BND-ing.”
“One player told an investigator that ‘BND-ing’ is a way of ‘putting people in their place,’” the suit states. “Another said it usually involves ‘junior varsity players on freshman.’
Other students said that ‘BND-ing’ was ‘traditional’ and that it happened as part of the basketball and football programs at Capital High School.”
Olympia School District spokeswoman Rebecca Japhet released the following statement on Tuesday: “The district takes all allegations regarding mistreatment of students very seriously. As soon as we learned about these alleged events in the summer of 2012 we investigated, made changes in staff, conducted additional training for coaches and changed our approval process for all overnight school-related events. When our employees do not fulfill their responsibilities they are subject to disciplinary actions. The head coach was relieved of his coaching position and is no longer employed by the Olympia School District.”
Galloway, a 1984 Capital graduate, now teaches and coaches at Montesano High School.
The district has 20 days to respond to the complaint, Cochran said.
Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433