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HOWLAND HIGH School sued over alleged hazing



Published: Wed, May 4, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The lawsuit has been assigned to Judge John Stuard.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A Howland boy and his parents have filed a lawsuit alleging the school district and others did not actively enforce a policy against hazing.

Irene and George Culetsu and their son, Konstantine, of Brookwood Drive, Howland, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Howland High School, the board of education, the wrestling coach and two students, Ray Crawford and Michael Welker, were named as defendants. School officials and the students could not be reached to comment.

Allegation

According to the lawsuit, on Nov. 22, Konstantine Culetsu, also known as Dino, was a freshman at the high school and a member of the wrestling team.

The suit further states the boy was singled out by Crawford and Welker for the purpose of initiating him as a member of the wrestling team.

The boy was punched with a closed fist in his upper right arm, which caused a bruise, the suit states.

"Then, both defendants, Ray Crawford and Michael Welker, held Dino Culetsu down while they were naked," the suit states. It further notes the defendants rubbed their private parts on the boy's forehead.

Another report

A similar incident happened to another member of the wrestling team within weeks of the one involving Culetsu, the lawsuit states.

"No representative of Howland High School took any action to prevent those or subsequent incidents alleged herein," the suit states. "At all times relevant hereto, Howland High School was not actively enforcing a policy against hazing."

The suit further says that when it became generally known to students and members of the faculty that Culetsu had been injured and embarrassed in connection with joining the wrestling team, Culetsu was ostracized at school and isolated.

"As a direct and proximate result of the extreme, outrageous and illegal conduct of defendants, Dino Culetsu withdrew from studies at Howland High School, suffered from and sought professional treatment for severe emotional distress, incurred medical and tutorial expenses," the suit states.

The suit is seeking an amount in excess of $25,000 for compensatory damages and an amount of $25,000 in punitive damages from the defendants.

The lawsuit has been assigned to Judge John Stuard. No hearing date has been set.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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