Wenatchee schools settle 2 of 3 lawsuits over 2014 football bus assaults

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WENATCHEE — Two Wenatchee students assaulted by a fellow student-athlete on a 2014 football bus trip have settled their long-running lawsuits with the school district over the incident.

The families of the two former students, who have since graduated, agreed in May to settle for a combined $125,000. One family will receive $85,000, the other $40,000. They formally withdrew June 12 from their lawsuit against the Wenatchee School District; the family of one other student remains a plaintiff in the case.

The lawsuits were triggered by the Wenatchee High School football team’s chartered bus trip to and from Spokane in September 2014, during which a 14-year-old student assaulted multiple fellow players and students, under the guise of horseplay.

The three victims and the assailant were among 45 students and student-athletes en route back to Wenatchee on a charter bus in September 2014. The group had traveled to a Wenatchee High School football team game in Spokane. Only one coach was on board to supervise all the students.

The assailant overpowered and penetrated three other junior varsity players through their clothes with his finger — a maneuver sometimes referred to in wrestling culture as an “oil check.” Initially charged in juvenile court with three counts of second-degree rape, the youth later pleaded guilty to third-degree assault, and was sentenced to 32 days of detention.

Investigators found the youth was allowed to ride with the team despite being ineligible to play football at the time of the trip, and the fact he was on court supervision for a prior assault on a fellow student. School district guidelines said there should have been two or more supervisors on the bus, but coaching staff hadn’t been fully apprised of those standards.