An investigation has been launched at the Vista High School in Vista, California, following an alleged incident involving the school’s football players in the locker room.
The investigation is being carried out by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and Vista Unified School district after alleged student-to-student misconduct among team members.
On Tuesday, officials from the Sheriff’s Department and school district said they have determined that the incident did not involve a sexual assault, but they are continuing with their investigation, according to The Coast News.
The district has also hired an outside investigator to determine whether the incident is isolated or an ongoing issue as the Sheriff’s Department attempts to investigate whether a crime has been committed.
A video from the alleged incident has also been circulating on social media.
According to reports, the video shows a young man dressed only in shorts crying out as he is lifted in a bear hug from behind by another, larger student.
He is then carried into an area within the locker room where the door is shut behind them.
According to The Coast News, the view of what then occurs is mostly obscured, but the young man can be seen lying on the floor, with his legs being lifted in the air by another individual. Another student nearby can be seen holding what appears to be a broom.
Voices can also allegedly be heard shouting “rape him” while they laugh. After about 35 seconds, the door is opened, and the student runs out and the video ends.
“We determined that in addition to the sheriff’s investigation, we are going to look at the entire football program to make sure there was no pervasiveness to this, that it wasn’t an ongoing thing,” Vista High School Principal David Jaffe told parents.
On September 7, Vista High School officials sent a letter to parents confirming that they had received “deeply disturbing” allegations about this misconduct. It is believed the incident occurred in late August, just before Labor Day weekend.
“A student reported that misconduct was taking place between players in the locker room. The allegations were deeply disturbing,” the letter said.
“Upon learning about this late last Thursday night, I contacted the District early Friday morning to initiate all appropriate next steps.
“The three-day weekend did cause some delays in our being able to gather facts so that I could share with you a more complete situation.
“Parents, please know law enforcement is contacting parents for permission prior to speaking with any students. The district has retained an outside investigator who will begin interviewing witnesses on Monday, September 12, 2022.
“Once the investigation is completed, we will take action based on the findings and our policies.”
On Tuesday, the Vista Sheriff’s Station said in a statement that Sheriff’s Detectives spoke to the 14-year-old victim, as well as his mother, fellow students, parents and faculty, and determined that a sexual assault did not happen.
The two students who are alleged to be the perpetrators in the incident have been restricted from participating in football but have been allowed to continue attending school.
A Zoom meeting was also held on Monday evening by the school. This allowed parents and concerned individuals to find out more information and voice their concerns.
Ahead of the virtual meeting, Superintendent Matt Doyle released a statement regarding the incident, according to an NBC San Diego report.
“A courageous student shared deeply concerning allegations of student-to-student conduct in the locker room and we moved immediately to investigate and increase supervision to ensure student safety.”
Many of the parents in the meeting said they were concerned that there was a lack of supervision in the locker room and a lapse in judgment by the coaches.
Newsweek has contacted the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and Vista High School for comment.