VISTA, Calif. – Deputies with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s Vista Station are investigating a physical altercation at Vista High School, authorities said.
The incident occurred inside the Vista High School varsity football locker room occurred on Aug. 31, according to a release sent out Tuesday afternoon.
Initially, the incident was investigated as sexual assault as that’s what was first reported to law enforcement on Friday, Sept. 2. The case was changed to a battery investigation after law enforcement spoke with the 14-year-old victim, his mother, and other students and parents.
“It was determined from the investigation that a sexual assault did not happen,” Vista deputies said.
A video was provided to investigators with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and showed the teenager being pushed to the ground by a group of other boys. The victim was not injured in the incident.
One parent showed the video to FOX 5 and it clearly shows boys taunting one student, at one point, you can hear an onlooker ask if the boy is being sexually assaulted as one of the other boys appears to have a large wooden stick in his hands.
“We want to know how they’re protecting our kids that are on campus, for the football players that didn’t have anything to do with it,” said one parent who spoke with FOX 5. “Why are the kids that were in the video still on campus? How are they going to protect our kids in the locker room now? Why wasn’t there a coach in there watching them?”
According to Vista High School Principal David Gaffe, the incident was first reported to the freshman football coach and then brought to the Vista Unified School District superintendent two days later. Parents were notified by letter on Sept. 9, informing them of the situation and outlining an immediate safety action plan, which includes counseling services and daily supervision of the locker room by coaches and an administrator.
The freshman football coach has since been let go and FOX 5 was told the boys in the video have all been taken off the team pending the ongoing investigation.
“All the boys in the video are off the team, but they’re still able to walk around on campus. There’s all kinds of rumors — like 20 people raped one kid — so now the football players that didn’t have anything to do with it are getting harassed on social media and death threats,” said one parent.
Another mom who has a son on the football team says her child was not there during the incident and is worried for his safety and says he no longer wants to go to school or play football.
The Vista Unified School District is conducting its own internal investigation separate from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s investigation.