Three White Dietrich Idaho Football Players Charged With Raping Black, Mentally Disabled Teammate In Locker Room

Three white Dietrich Idaho football players are being charged with the October, 2015, brutal sexual attack against their black, mentally disabled teammate.

Warning: this article contains graphic content that may upset some readers.

According to the Washington Post, the horrific incident took place on Oct. 23, 2015, and the criminal complaint describes in graphic detail what ensued that day in the locker room. One of the teenage boys reportedly approached the victim, reaching his arms out as though he was going to give him a hug. However, rather than giving a hug, the boy restrained the victim while another boy inserted a coat hanger into his rectum. The third boy then kicked the coat hanger several times as the victim screamed and cried out for help.

“The Plaintiff screamed and cried out but no staff member came to his assistance or even attempted to investigate the clamor from within the locker room,” R. Keith Roark and E. Lee Schlender, the victim’s attorneys, wrote in the filing.

Under Idaho law, two of the teenagers are being tried as adults, and could face up to life in prison for the brutal rape. The statute reads as follows, in part.

“18-6608. FORCIBLE SEXUAL PENETRATION BY USE OF FOREIGN OBJECT. Every person who, for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification or abuse, causes the penetration, however slight, of the genital or anal opening of another person, by any object, instrument or device, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than life.”

The civil complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Idaho, suggests the rape wasn’t the first time the young, mentally disabled boy had fallen victim to ruthless bullying. The lawsuit alleges he “was taunted and called racist names by other members of the team, which names included ‘Kool-Aid,’ ‘chicken eater,’ ‘watermelon,’ and [the N-word]” starting in the summer of 2015. The suit also claims one of the attackers, identified by KTVB as John R.K. Howard, proudly displayed a Confederate flag, and forced the boy to sing a racist song titled “Notorious KKK,” which makes references to lynching.

In addition to the lawsuit against the three football players, the victim’s parents have filed a separate $10 million suit against the Dietrich School District for failing to protect their son, who they adopted as a young child. Along with the Dietrich High School, the lawsuit also names 11 employees as defendants. The parents say the school administrators and coaches failed to stop the physical and mental abuse that was taking place against their son. Superintendent Benjamin Hardcastle, Dietrich School Principal Stephanie Shaw, and football coach Mike Torensen were three of the 11 named defendants.

John R.K. Howard was forced to move in with family members in Idaho after getting into trouble in his home state of Texas, and the victim’s attorneys say the administrators, teachers, and coaches turned a blind eye to his behavior, which in addition to the rape, included giving the victim painful wedgies, and stripping him down to take naked photos of him.

“Mr. Howard is a relative of prominent individuals in the community and, at least in part due to his athletic ability and community connections, the Defendants ignored or were deliberately indifferent to the behavior of Mr. Howard, which included aggression, taunting and bullying of The Plaintiff and other students in the District,” the lawyers wrote, adding that the Dietrich football coaches encouraged the other players to fight the boy and knock him unconscious.

Tanner Ward, 17-year-old wide receiver, is the other football player being tried as an adult for forcible penetration. The third attacker is 16-years-old and will be tried as a juvenile. He has not been publicly identified because of his age.

[Photo via Shutterstock]