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BOMBSHELL: Mater Dei Hazing Scandal


The Stache
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Hi All, 

Sorry for my delay in jumping in here. Work has been hectic, and I just got back from Orlando.

I have again downloaded and reviewed all the latest filings. On May 9th, a hearing to discuss MD's motion to dismiss the hazing claims (and other more minor claims, e.g., intentional infliction of emotional distress) will be held. I hope to be able to attend the hearing as a member of the public, but I currently have a deposition scheduled for the same time.

For those who dislike reading my verbose posts, the TLDR version is that

(1) MD is likely to defeat the "hazing" claims next week;

(2) MD had significant security in place at the time of the incident to prevent any such incidents, though, it's very hard to prevent a mutual fight as opposed to bullying or hazing, and that security obviously failed to prevent or intervene during the approximately one minute long fight on February 4, 2021;

(3) The former AD's testimony DOES possibly support a claim that MD gave the plaintiff inadequate medical care immediately after the fight; and

(4) MD may have evidence to rebut such claims re inadequate care--but it has not been made public as that evidence supporting MD's side (to the extent that it has been filed) is currently "under seal" to protect the plaintiff's privacy as he was a minor. To the last point, my speculation is that MD's evidence will show that plaintiff lied about what led to the fight and will further show that the injuries were not as severe as reported. But, I also think that MD likely screwed up by not calling 9-1-1 pursuant to CIF's concussion protocol regardless of whether the injuries have been exaggerated.

Here is my lengthier breakdown.

  • The "hazing" claim is likely dead. Plaintiff has all but abandoned any claims that there was "hazing"--though you wouldn't know that from the OC Register and LA Times articles. It's impossible to say anything with 100% certainty (including that MD's motion will be granted), but the case law and statutes are pretty clear that this does not count as "hazing" at all. Plaintiff's opposition does not even try to challenge these cases or cite additional evidence to support a hazing claim. Instead, his argument boils down to: "I know the law isn't on our side, but here's what we wish the law was."
  • The legal strategy has pivoted to focusing on negligence/trying to shift the burden to MD. The point of the weak "hazing" claim from a legal perspective (to the extent that it wasn't included in the complaint purely as something that the media/public can latch on to and label MD with even if/when it is proven false) was to try to place the burden on MD to prove its innocence. Normally, the burden is on a plaintiff. However, in rare cases--such as when one has pleaded facts to support that there were actual hazing rituals at the school--the jury is told to presume defendant was negligent. Thus, here, if there was actual hazing, MD would then have to prove to a jury that it is more likely than not that it did everything it reasonably could to prevent hazing--tie would go to the plaintiff. While, as discussed above, there is little chance the hazing claim survives, there are other related theories of "negligence per se" that plaintiff is more earnestly pursuing. I will have to see MD's reply brief (which is due by midnight tonight) to get a better read of the viability of these alterative arguments.
  • Plaintiff's strategy to litigate this in the court of public opinion has doubled down on egregious mischaracterizations of evidence.
    • Some notable facts that appear undisputed to this point are as follows:
      • During Covid-19, out of health concerns, MD athletic teams generally started having the relevant head coach usher groups of kids in and out of their respective locker rooms as quickly as possible (basically just enough time to get changed for practice). Outside of these moments when players would be let in for just enough time to get dressed, the locker rooms would be locked and inaccessible. Further, the relevant head coaches sat outside their respective locker rooms listening while players got dressed--preventing any misbehavior.
      • Conversely, and to the former AD's dismay, MD football proceeded with allowing players to use their lockers in a more normal fashion--i.e., the locker room was not locked, and players had downtime to hang out in the locker room in the hour plus between end of school weightlifting (around the 2 o'clock hour) and practice (around the late 4 o'clock hour). This was common in my time as a player. We were the first team with the current locker room, and we'd often hang out, listen to music, and/or watch movies, basic cable TV, or football highlights on the big projector in the locker room between weightlifting and practice.
      • The former AD did not like this downtime, especially given the fact that, due to COVID-19, there were fewer adults around to organically go in and out of locker rooms. As she testified, teenage boys being left alone for an hour plus was a "recipe for disaster." While their were NO incidents of "bodies" or hazing within the football program that furthered such concerns, prior to the fight, there was an incident where players broke a sink and mirror in the bathroom that is connected to the locker room.
      • Based on these concerns, the former AD asked coach Rollinson to follow the same procedures as other coaches: leaving the locker room locked, only opening it briefly to let groups of players get dressed, and personally sitting outside the locker room to listen for any shenanigans. It was to this suggestion that Rollo allegedly said, "I don't have time for that shit." (That sounds true to me.)
      • Notably, the AD alternatively suggested having assistant coaches do this instead of Rollo, and Plaintiff's filing cuts off the deposition transcript before giving Rollo's response to this alternative arrangement--suggesting he was NOT dismissive of further security/monitoring as long as it did not conflict with his pre-practice prep/require him to personally monitor the locker room.
      • Regardless, BEFORE the incident in question occurred, MD hired private security specifically for the football team's locker room and had a rotation of other MD assistant AD's sitting outside the locker room--far more significant preventative measures than anything even suggested by folks on this board. Based on this security, the fact that the incident slipped through surprised the former AD. Per the deposition transcript: 
        • "Question from Plaintiff's counsel: All right. And what surprised you by not seeing adults intervene in the February 4th, 2021 incident involving the plaintiff?
        • "Answer from former AD: Well, we had hired security as well as had a rotation for our ADs to be outside the doors to make sure that we knew what was happening and what was going on, and so I was disappointed that that [an intervention in the one minute fight] hadn't happened."
  • The former AD's testimony was not all sunshine and rainbows for MD. Former Vice Principal Campeau (now a high up at Apple, Inc.) comes off as a "B" who was disrespectful and condescending to the former AD (something that rings true to me based on personal interactions). Rollo comes off poorly in how he communicated with the former AD, specifically saying, "I don't have time for that shit." Frankly, he really didn't have time to constantly personally monitor the locker room, and the rotation of private security and assistant ADs as monitors was a better solution. But communicating that fact in the caustic fashion that he allegedly did--especially given Rollo's other alleged history of a confrontation with a female colleagues--is not a good look. Finally, while it appears likely that the injuries were not as severe as they have been characterized so far, the former AD is probably right (based on what I've seen) that 9-1-1 should have been called in addition to the parents (and separate from the trainer's immediate treatment of the injuries) given the CIF's stringent concussion protocol. Even if the plaintiff initiated the fight (and it was just a stupid fight), treating the plaintiff as a bad kid/in-trouble at the expense of medical care to any extent is a bad look.
  • There is likely yet to be released evidence contradicting plaintiff's story and the claimed extent of his injuries. In addition to moving to dismiss, there is a hearing next month on a motion to compel/for sanctions against plaintiff's counsel. The evidence produced so far apparently (I cannot say for certain as the underlying documents are "sealed" for now based on the plaintiff's privacy as a minor) includes the following:
    • Texts from plaintiff to friends and family contradicting the complaint, e.g., what led to the fight and the extent of his injuries.
    • An essay as part of a college application that discusses the event and also contradicts his claim of what led to the fight and the extent of his injuries.
    • These texts and essays have been heavily redacted and/or not produced at all based on "privacy" and a lack of "relevance." These are not proper bases for such redactions so MD is likely to win its motion--ultimately irrelevant or unduly prejudicial/cumulative evidence will not be allowed at trial, but you still must produce it in discovery. Plaintiff has refused. And, knowing plaintiff's counsel pretty well, it is very plausible (if not likely) that the redacted documents will review even more damning info.

Ultimately, the original position of MD faithful appears to be true. That position was never that it's good a fight occurred or that the program and school are infallible. Rather, MD took serious steps to keep players safe before and after the incident. Those steps included paying for private security as Rollo does not see himself as the one to personally monitor players at all times (though, they were closely monitored contrary to the suggestion of the articles). The complaint and article are filled with lies. And there is no hazing.

All the said, after the fight and again after the story/lawsuit came out, people newer to MD--namely the newer and now former AD and president--wanted to avoid even the appearance of placing sports above safety and other school missions. Motivated by that desire (as I know from personal knowledge), the former president prevented Rollo and others from releasing statements and evidence to refute the claims in the complaint, e.g., the information regarding how closely the locker room had been monitored and a firm statement that the claim of a "bodies" hazing ritual is a fabrication. Further, the former AD wanted to let the plaintiff (who initiated, lied about, and was a willing participant in the fight) transfer without being labeled as having a disciplinary action against him--seemingly as she felt bad about what she saw as insufficient treatment of his injuries. These positions were rejected by those who had been at the school for more than 30 years, Principal Frances Clare, Coach Rollinson, Mrs. Rollinson, and a myriad of MD supporters. And the latter group won out.

Most of the facts are becoming pretty clear. How one reacts to these facts is significantly affected if one hates MD's success or, on the other hand, ties his/her identity to the maintenance of that success.

Best,

Res Ipsa Loquitur

P.S. I am related to someone who may soon have a significant role in MD's administration. As I have admitted since my original post, I am biased--despite my best efforts to present neutral analyses of the facts and law--because I am an alum/former player who Rollo personally protected from bullying. I have felt comfortable posting despite that bias. But, a direct connection to the current MD administration would be a bridge too far in my opinion. So, if my family member is hired by MD, I will cease posting to the board.

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5 hours ago, Norcalnut said:

Do you think per pressure  and desire to be accepted into the MD culture could have been the motivator to participate in such a dangerous endeavor. 

I’ve been connected to MD for over 40 years and there is no ‘culture’ that has anything to do with this.

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1 hour ago, Bodysurf said:

I’ve been connected to MD for over 40 years and there is no ‘culture’ that has anything to do with this.

So the whole ritual, for lack of a better term, of “bodies” or mutual combat (as some like to describe it and I tend to agree with) on campus has never existed?

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2 minutes ago, Norcalnut said:

So the whole ritual, for lack of a better term, of “bodies” or mutual combat (as some like to describe it and I tend to agree with) on campus has never existed?

Leading up to the incident, it appears that some non-football-player students may have played "bodies" on one or more occasions not too long before the fight at issue. This was discovered by the school after investigating the incident that eventually led to the lawsuit.

There is absolutely ZERO support for there being any mutual fighting rituals in the football program ever. This was a one off fight.

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5 minutes ago, Norcalnut said:

So the whole ritual, for lack of a better term, of “bodies” or mutual combat (as some like to describe it and I tend to agree with) on campus has never existed?

I am not saying it didn’t happen. I’m saying it’s not the culture. If some idiot kid chooses to do something stupid, that does not define the culture of an entire institution. 

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14 minutes ago, res ipsa loquitur said:

Leading up to the incident, it appears that some non-football-player students may have played "bodies" on one or more occasions not too long before the fight at issue. This was discovered by the school after investigating the incident that eventually led to the lawsuit.

There is absolutely ZERO support for there being any mutual fighting rituals in the football program ever. This was a one off fight.

So the school investigated itself and found no wrongdoings. I’m not saying it did or didn’t happen but internal investigations run by those being investigated don’t mean shit to me. That’s the same as having arbitrator being hired by the people wanting arbitration, conflict of interest anyone? 

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3 hours ago, res ipsa loquitur said:

(3) The former AD's testimony DOES possibly support a claim that MD gave the plaintiff inadequate medical care immediately after the fight.

Every mandated reporter should have been fired immediately and should never be allowed to work among minors again.

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21 minutes ago, Norcalnut said:

So the school investigated itself and found no wrongdoings. I’m not saying it did or didn’t happen but internal investigations run by those being investigated don’t mean shit to me. That’s the same as having arbitrator being hired by the people wanting arbitration, conflict of interest anyone? 

Not remotely what I said. I said, that there were maybe a couple incidents of bodies (it's unclear) by students who were NOT football players that occurred before the fight at issue but were not known to the administration until after the fight. I bring up the internal investigation only to explain how those other non-football related fights came to light.

The fact that this is true--i.e., that this was a one off fight--was found through independent investigations by Santa Ana Police and the Orange County DA. Yes, internal investigations found the same thing, but that's not the basis for claiming this to be a fact. Further, half a year into the lawsuit, and plaintiff's have indisputably found no evidence of hazing or a ritual. BUT, as I have discussed at length above, they may have found some evidence supporting negligence--particularly with regard to the medical treatment that was provided after the fight.

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With all the extra private security hired by Mater Dei to supervise the locker rooms, how is it possible this fight carried over into a second locker room?  I haven’t watched the video (I have no interest in seeing the fight) so I could be wrong and will stand corrected, but I thought it was mentioned in the past that the fight occurred in two different locker areas. If that’s true, I seriously question the statements that the locker room areas were constantly supervised.

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14 minutes ago, Severino said:

Every mandated reporter should have been fired immediately and should never be allowed to work among minors again.

Fair argument. We will see what MD produces, which might get publicly attached to tonight's required reply brief--though this all may remain under seal for now. If the AD is 100% correct/truthful, the former Vice Principal (who has since left for Apple, Inc.) prevented the former AD and the trainer who was providing treatment from calling 9-1-1 per the CIF concussion protocol. We will have to see if emails, texts, etc. contradict this. If not, so be it--let appropriate consequences follow.

But, let us also not skip over the fact that there were multiple layers of supervision over the locker room before the fight occurred--i.e., apparently the school/team did what one reasonably could to prevent any such fight from occurring. And let us not skip over the fact that, half a year into litigation, there is no evidence of any hazing ritual, i.e., this was a one off fight--something nearly impossible to perfectly prevent from ever happening.

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17 minutes ago, The Colonel said:

With all the extra private security hired by Mater Dei to supervise the locker rooms, how is it possible this fight carried over into a second locker room?  I haven’t watched the video (I have no interest in seeing the fight) so I could be wrong and will stand corrected, but I thought it was mentioned in the past that the fight occurred in two different locker areas. If that’s true, I seriously question the statements that the locker room areas were constantly supervised.

If you ever see the video of the quick fight that was grossly mischaracterized by the news articles/complaint (like I had before it was deleted from Twitter), you will see how it could slip through and not be heard from outside the door. (Again, private security and assistant ADs on duty listened to the locker room from outside door as they weren't to be in a room where minors were showering and changing). The fight did not spill out from one locker room to another. The fighting players started facing each other like a boxing match. There are very few other players in the locker room (maybe two or three others). And it is not very loud.

Also, my guess is that the plaintiff and other player involved in the fight specifically waited for a short one minute window when security and/or assistant ADs were away from the door/less likely to hear. But that's me speculating.

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On 5/2/2022 at 12:28 PM, Norcalnut said:

Ok let’s say it was mutual combat, do you think the whole ritual of “bodies” could be considered hazing? Do you think per pressure  and desire to be accepted into the MD culture could have been the motivator to participate in such a dangerous endeavor. Maybe we can just call it an initiation, but to me it’s just another type of hazing. If the administration or coaching staff turns a blind eye or even condones that sort of behavior (this is by no means a isolated incident) and it’s proven that they knew and didn’t report it, they should be prosecuted. The NCAA would call that a lack of institutional control, so would I.

I agree.  Based on my limited knowledge from reading the articles, it seems as though there is/was extreme peer pressure to participate and an implicit acknowledgement if not approval by those in charge.

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2 hours ago, Fred said:

I agree.  Based on my limited knowledge from reading the articles, it seems as though there is/was extreme peer pressure to participate and an implicit acknowledgement if not approval by those in charge.

You have to consider who wrote the piece.Writers who have been very vocal about their dislike of MD ever since they sued the Southern Section into submission.They would like nothing better than the fall of MD

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On 4/28/2022 at 11:55 PM, The Colonel said:

Sure. A Mater Dei alumni who’s basically gone on record as saying the allegations are false. Yeah…let’s all hold our comments till he weighs in.  He’ll clear everything up for us.  LOL. 

Care to change your tune now?  

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1 hour ago, MD87 said:

Care to change your tune now?  

Of course not. LOL. Why would I?  He basically said what I knew he would say. He admits his bias and doesn’t believe any of the allegations. That’s fine. His quote: “As I have admitted since my original post, I am biased--despite my best efforts to present neutral analyses of the facts and law-”.

Do you still honestly believe his opinion is the only one that matters on this subject. 😂  The opinions that ultimately matter are those of the judge who will oversee the civil case or the attorneys who will negotiate the settlement check Mater Dei will write before this case gets to a hearing.  And that will be a BIG check…one with a crooked number and six zeros after.  

 

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What high school hires “Private Security” for their football teams locker room if there hasn’t been a significant concern or history of incidents in the past?  That alone not only raises red flags, it indicates the presence of football program that has a major culture problem IMO.  

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5 minutes ago, NYHSFAN33 said:

What high school hires “Private Security” for their football teams locker room

😃

This stuff just gets better and better.....

I'm liking the Johnny Depp defamation case a lot too. Pure entertainment. lol

 

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Its weird seeing the mater dump backers say that isn't the culture when the water polo team is under investigation for the exact same thing.

Either these claiming to be so attached to the team are lying or turning a blind eye to all this. Its not like this is a one off. Its almost a year to year situation.

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54 minutes ago, Ga96 said:

Its weird seeing the mater dump backers say that isn't the culture when the water polo team is under investigation for the exact same thing.

Either these claiming to be so attached to the team are lying or turning a blind eye to all this. Its not like this is a one off. Its almost a year to year situation.

(1) No one has come forward with a single additional example of “bodies” taking place with football players. Not a single additional football player (beyond the current plaintiff) has alleged an instance of hazing over Rollo’s 30+ years of coaching. (Rather, the opposite is true, with former players like me giving examples of how much Rollo has consistently done to protect his most vulnerable players.) Would your schools be able to say the same after 6 months of pressure and investigation, desperate for anyone to come forward claiming hazing (with a possible pay day available to anyone who does)?

(2) As part of the school’s increased vigilance, rather than handling/investigating an incident internally, the school recently immediately contacted SA Police to investigate a possible “hazing” incident at a water polo practice. We have no idea what this incident was—let alone if it was some kind of fight as opposed to the classic icey hot in a Speedo thing that other posters have said has happened at their schools. There is no lawsuit. The SA Police did not approach the school. If every incident of possible bullying or hazing within all sports programs at your schools was reported to police out of an abundance of caution given you were under a microscope, would there be fewer than one incident over 6 months? Fewer than 2 over a year +? Are there over 1,000 student athletes at your school?

(3) Outside the above, 6 months of digging by reporters—looking at the school’s entire history going back to 1950—has come up with a few disgusting instances of teachers having sex with students in the 80s and 90s (including a male women’s basketball coach with a female student) that led to settlements that were already reported on 10 years ago and an off-campus fight between two former football players and a former basketball player at a house party that occurred several years ago.

Is the consensus that 6 months of investigating by national and local media (including CBS News’s national producer, who personally called me and many others affiliated with the school) would unearth less at comparably sized schools? At your favorite schools? That this is indicative of a particularly toxic culture? If yes, then you are indeed morally superior, and MD is a cesspool. Or are you exaggerating, spinning, and misrepresenting incomplete facts (that in reality illustrate a pretty buttoned up athletic department given its size) to fit your narrative since you know your constant/creepy bitching about MD football on literally every social media post, including random high school football YouTube videos with teams other than MD, and photoshopping devil horns on Rollo for your avatar haven’t gained traction?

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A one-off fight isn’t a culture problem.
 

Multiple players giving the middle finger to the crowd with seemingly zero reprecussions is a culture problem. Sex act charades in the locker room is a culture problem. Spitting in opponents faces is a culture problem. Players getting arrested for stealing from the local community is a culture problem. Players transferring in for less than a year to play football only to transfer back to their original school is a culture problem. The transfer trend that Monarch alumni carry with them to the next level and beyond is a culture problem. The mere fact that a private, Catholic school in Orange County, California has to hire private security to monitor the boys locker room is, you guessed it, a culture problem. That’s just my opinion, though.

 

The way you view the incident doesn’t need to have anything to do with how much you “love” or “hate” Mater Dei, as the false dichotomy that Clarence Darrow presented us with suggests. There’s a third explanation, and it involves reality.

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5 minutes ago, GoBigBlack said:

A one-off fight isn’t a culture problem.
 

Multiple players giving the middle finger to the crowd with seemingly zero reprecussions is a culture problem. Sex act charades in the locker room is a culture problem. Spitting in opponents faces is a culture problem. Players getting arrested for stealing from the local community is a culture problem. Players transferring in for less than a year to play football only to transfer back to their original school is a culture problem. The transfer trend that Monarch alumni carry with them to the next level and beyond is a culture problem. The mere fact that a private, Catholic school in Orange County, California has to hire private security to monitor the boys locker room is, you guessed it, a culture problem. That’s just my opinion, though.

 

The way you view the incident doesn’t need to have anything to do with how much you “love” or “hate” Mater Dei, as the false dichotomy that Clarence Darrow presented us with suggests. There’s a third option, and it involves reality.

What a bunch of bullshit😂

If these things happened year after year I would agree with you but they dont

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