John R.K. Howard

Three Dietrich, Idaho, teenagers have been charged with sexual assault in the brutal rape of their high school football teammate, the Washington Post reports.

One teammate, under the guise of giving the victim—who reportedly has "mental disorders, including learning disabilities"—a hug, restrained the boy while another player allegedly thrust a coat hanger into his rectum, before the third teammate kicked the coat hanger several times, the criminal complaint reads.


Two of the teens have been charged as adults with forcible penetration by use of force or a foreign object for the October 2015 incident and could face up to live in prison, according to the Post.

The young man's family responded to the assault earlier this month by filing a $10 million lawsuit against Dietrich High School, claiming that the rape was not a random attack but instead was the culmination of months of racially tinged abuse by white students against the boy, who is black. His parents, who are white, adopted him when he was 4.


According to the lawsuit, the boy "was taunted and called racist names by other members of the team, including "Kool-Aid," "chicken eater," "watermelon" and "[n—ger]." It also claims that one of the students charged in the sexual assault had displayed a Confederate flag and ordered the boy to recite a racist song called "Notorious KKK."

All three of the teens charged in the attack are white, according to the suit.

In addition to the high school, the lawsuit lists 11 employees at the school as defendants, accusing officials and coaches of doing nothing to stop the racial and physical abuse of the vulnerable student, now 18. In fact, the suit alleges, Dietrich football coaches actually encouraged teammates to fight the boy and allowed a much larger student to knock him unconscious while other students yelled "catcalls, taunts and racial epithets."


The victim was subject to "aggressive 'humping,' jumping on him from the back and simulating anal sex," according to the lawsuit, as well as painful wedgies. Teammates are also accused of stripping him of his clothes and taking naked photos of him in the locker room.

One student in particular, John R.K. Howard, was painted as the perpetrator of the worst of the abuse. The lawsuit calls out Howard, one of the three students charged in the sexual assault, as the ringleader. The 18-year-old is one of two charged as an adult.


"Mr. Howard is a large and aggressive male who had been sent to live with his relatives in Idaho due to his inability to keep out of trouble in Texas," the complaint says. "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. With deliberate indifference, the Defendants did nothing to curb the vicious acts of Mr. Howard who brought with him from Texas a culture of racial hatred towards the Plaintiff."

It was Howard, the suit claims, who made the boy recite the words to "Notorious KKK" and who allegedly knocked the boy out with his bare fists while teammates and coaches formed a circle around them. And it is Howard who is accused of kicking the coat hanger five or six times, causing "rectal injuries" that required treatment.


The other player charged as an adult, 17-year-old Tanner Ward, is accused of "physically [forcing] a coat hanger into the Plaintiff's" rectum.

The name of the third teen, a 16-year-old who was charged as a juvenile, has not been released.


Read more at the Washington Post.