Another La Vernia varsity football player arrested Wednesday

More arrests announced in La Vernia sexual assault hazing scandal

LA VERNIA - On Wednesday afternoon, another La Vernia High School athlete was put in handcuffs, charged with a felony offense of sexual assault.

That makes 10 arrests so far: three adults and seven teens involved in a horrific hazing scandal.

Two court documents obtained by KENS 5 detail why two varsity football players were arrested on campus Monday, then another on Wednesday.

When the news broke, it shocked the entire La Vernia community. As residents told us, this scandal is not one to forget, but they're hoping everyone will at least forgive.

Dustin Norman, Robert Olivarez Jr., and Alejandro Ibarra are three La Vernia High School varsity football players facing adult sexual assault charges.

Criminal complaints reveal the assault happened in November of 2016 in a home off campus. The documents say that it was part of an initiation process after the 16-year-old victim moved from JV to the varsity football team.

The victim claims Norman, Olivarez, Ibarra and an underage suspect yelled "get him," held him down on a bed, and used the threaded end of a CO2 air tank to sexually assault him.

Norman, Olivarez, and Ibarra are just three of 10 arrests so far. The others are minors.

Community members told KENS 5 that this isn't the La Vernia they know.

"Coming from a big city, I was actually pleasantly surprised at the behavior of children specifically. 'Yes ma'am, no ma'am,' I mean, they are very polite and well-mannered," said Patricia Singer, owner of Body and Sol Tanning Spa.

Singer pointed to a flyer inside the spa advertising an upcoming live auction for an ill pastor. She says that hosting fundraisers and other supportive events is typical in La Vernia.

"I hope everyone will go through this and, trust me, everyone here is good people," said Rachel Nguyen, owner of LV Nails, who moved her daughter.

The message in Wednesday night's youth ministry called "Faith Factor" at St. Ann's Catholic Church will focus on forgiveness.

"With everything that's going on in our community right now, we feel like we need to talk to them about the act of mercy. It's those in difficult situations that we're called to be merciful to. I hope that those in our community that our true Christians will show true mercy to everyone involved and will reach out to show love. Because that's all our duty is, is to love," said Shannon Kosub, director of religious education at St. Ann's Catholic Church.

Father Stan Fiuk says cases like these are consequences of society we must recognize.

"Our society doesn't want to see something wrong. When something wrong happens, we want to crucify them. This is a little bit hypocritical," Father Fiuk said. "We want to see only negative, but I am asking where is positive? Not only on the level of La Vernia, but on the level of the state, on the level of the country, we are sick. These children need mercy and we have to learn to be merciful because they are victims of the sick society."

KENS 5 also wanted to verify a couple of rumors buzzing around social media.

The La Vernia Police Chief, Bruce Ritchey, says that the arrest of a high school employee and a college student in connection with this case is "absolutely false". Chief Ritchey says that more arrests are likely to come in the near future.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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