A shampoo bottle. A cardboard rod. A flashlight.
These were the instruments allegedly used by four former Texas high-school students to sexually assault six teammates a total of nine times, according to indictments in their cases released this week.
Dustin Norman, Alejandro Ibarra, Colton Weidner, and Christian “Brock” Roberts—all 20 years old—were indicted Friday by a Wilson County grand jury on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity, according to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office. The Daily Beast first reported the indictments on Monday.
Norman, Ibarra, Weidner, and Roberts were initially arrested more than two years ago in the sexual assault and hazing scandal that rocked the 1,200-person town of La Vernia, about 30 miles outside of San Antonio. Thirteen students were arrested in the case in March 2017.
Local police reported at the time that varsity athletes on the baseball, basketball, and football programs had been sodomizing at least 10 younger teammates with flashlights, carbon-dioxide tanks, and other items. The case was eventually taken up by the Texas Rangers and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
Norman’s indictment claims he held down a boy on Aug. 15, 2016 and sodomized him with a cardboard rod; that he held down the same boy on Sept. 30 and raped him with a shampoo bottle; and that he held down another boy on Nov. 15 and sodomized him with a CO2 air bottle.
Ibarra’s indictment lists the same dates and objects allegedly used to assault the same boys, referred to in the documents only as juvenile #57 and juvenile #65.
Roberts’ indictment claims that on five different occasions he used his finger to assault four different boys between Nov. 15 2016 and Feb. 1, 2017. On another occasion, he allegedly used a flashlight.
Weidner’s indictment lists the same five occasions and instruments of assault with the same victims, identified only as juveniles #119, #97, #39, and #112.
All of the suspects have repeatedly denied their involvement in the scandal, and Dustin Norman’s attorney, Alfonso Cabanas, told The Daily Beast on Monday that the allegations against his client “have no merit and have done nothing more than continue to ruin an innocent person’s life.”
Two lawsuits against the school district were consolidated last month. One, initially filed in Jan. 2018, claimed that a teenage basketball player was assaulted more than 30 times between Oct. 2016 and Feb. 2017. The boy, identified only as John Doe, said he was attacked in the La Vernia High School locker room, at teammates’ homes after dinners, in a shower at the school, and before and after basketball games.
Doe’s lawsuit also claimed that at least one coach witnessed his assaults and ignored his screams.
The Daily Beast reported in August that boys who were promoted to the varsity teams were afraid to undress in the locker room over fear that they would be attacked in the showers, their mothers said. John Doe said in the 2018 lawsuit that he eventually began “having to shower with his underwear on to help deter and/or prevent future sexual assaults.”
The other civil lawsuit was initially filed against the district in April 2017 and alleged that coaches and other administrators at the school “sanctioned these rituals” and “turned a blind eye toward the abuse, even after the abuse was reported to them.”
The civil cases against La Vernia Independent School District are set for trial in Feb. 2020.
The school district on Tuesday released a statement on the case but ultimately declined to comment on the details of the indictment “due to the sensitive nature of the allegations, as well as federal law protecting all students’ privacy rights.”