La Vernia police have confirmed that two 18-year-old males have been arrested and being booked into Wilson County Jail in the sexual abuse scandal involving the High School athletics program. Seven juvenile students were arrested last week in what could be a “hazing” scandal that could go back for several years.
“It’s a black eye for the city,” said La Vernia Chief of Police Bruce Ritchey. “What I’m concerned with right now is providing the help and healing for those victimized.”
School district sources indicate they are working with the district attorney’s office to determine how to handle the juveniles arrested. This could include “sending them to an alternative school” or expelling them. The athletic programs of 2015 through 2017 academic school years have been affected.
“These kind of accusations are the easiest to make and the most difficult to defend,” said San Antonio criminal attorney Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. Monday. Vera has successfully defended many sexual abuse cases in Texas and across the country. “It’s the only crime you can be accused of and people automatically think you are guilty and look down on you. It’s easy to accuse and you have a bad stigma placed on you. But unfortunately people will jump to conclusions.”
“Some of these boys may be completely innocent, but not many will give them the benefit of a doubt,” Vera said.
Police continue to interview the victims and tips from citizens who may have knowledge of the sexual abuse of at least ten students. La Vernia, with a population of 1250, is located 30 miles southeast of San Antonio, Texas.
Students returning to the distressed high school on Monday are being offered help for their grief with several more alleged victims coming forward to the police over the weekend.
“During this time, I would like you to know that my staff and I are here for you and your child to meet any need that arises,” stated La Vernia High School Principal Kimberley Martin over social media Sunday.
“Counselors and administrators are available for support and guidance during this difficult time.”
“On Friday, March 24th during 2nd period, I let students know through an announcement that counselors and administrators are available for support and guidance during this difficult time,” Martin wrote. “In addition, all high school staff continually focus on building relationships with all students, and they have been reminded to be more observant and aware of student behaviors. If any students seem to be behaving out of the ordinary, La Vernia High School Staff know that they are to make an immediate report to the campus leadership team.”
“On Monday, March 27th, students will be given email addresses of all counselors and administrators. If at any time your child does not feel comfortable going to the office, they will have an additional option to make contact with someone to provide assistance.”
Martin indicated that La Vernia Police Department contact information for victim outreach and anonymous tips related to the investigation will be provided.
“I can’t tell you how hurt we are. He will never be the same.”
One source close to the investigation, who asked to remain anonymous told NEWS LEGIT that “I will say this… people are speculating that all of this happened at the school and that is not necessarily true.”
“Until the investigation is complete and more information can be shared, people really need to refrain from making assumptions and speculations,” the source said. “There’s a lot of finger pointing and accusations about who is responsible. Those things are all very irresponsible actions.”
A mother of one of the victims who asked not to be publicly identified contacted NEWS LEGIT’s Jack Dennis Friday “because I don’t want these punks to get away with this. They held (her son) down, ridiculed him. They tortured him like he was an animal. They stuck things up his butt. These bastards had been doing it to others too. It was like a game. I can’t tell you how hurt we are. He will never be the same. It was senseless. Where were the coaches? It was like a mob attack.”