Suit: Mississippi High School football team assaults student

Pass Christian High School in Bas Christian on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.

Pass Christian High School in Bas Christian on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.

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A high school student at Bass Christian who suffers from a rare skin condition has been bullied and physically assaulted for months by at least five of his classmates on the school’s soccer team, according to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Gulfport.

The lawsuit says the agony intensified at a college football camp when players poured semen and other hot fluids on his face – and they recorded some incidents on Snapchat.

The parents of the 15-year-old boy and the former football player are seeking unspecified damages against five underage students, Bass Christian Public School District, current Middle School Principal Jededia “Jed” Mooney, Jones County Junior College, and other unnamed defendants.

The victim’s parents said they were “forced to remove him from school” because their son had become “too afraid to go to school and fearful of further abuse.”

The lawsuit accuses the school district of failing to follow its policies to protect students from bullying, harassment or assault despite the boy and his parents reporting the alleged assaults to school officials.

In addition, the lawsuit accuses the school district and Jones College in Ellisville of failing to inform law enforcement officials of the alleged attacks when they occurred.

Attorneys Christopher Van Cleef and Monty Tynes represent the minor victim and his parents in the civil lawsuit. The Sun Herald did not identify the minor victim or his parents.

“Our hope is that, in addition to bringing justice to our clients, this litigation will lead the school systems in our district and state to implement, and most importantly, implement zero-tolerance policies to combat bullying,” Van Cleef said.

The suspects allegedly attacked the boy on various occasions during the 2020-2021 school year, mostly while playing football, in the locker room and before games at Bas Christian, and during a football camp at Jones College starting June 16, 2021.

In the alleged assaults, suspects stole money from the boy’s book bag, soiled his clothes with dirt and bleach, or poured hot liquid containing semen on the boy before stripping him of his clothes and photographing him on social media.

The suit also singles out Mooney as someone who allegedly knew of the abuse and “encouraged” or “turned a blind eye” to it and even allegedly “underestimated” the victim himself at times.

Dragging his clothes in the mud

The victim suffers from a rare skin disease called Darrier. According to the National Institutes of Health, the disease causes wart-like blemishes to appear on the skin once it’s contaminated.

In some cases, minor defendants allegedly stole money or smeared ICY Hot, a topical ointment used to relieve muscle pain, bleached the boy’s clothes and socks, or dragged the victim’s shirt or soccer jersey through dirt or mud.

Once the victim’s clothing was soiled, his skin condition flared up, causing further medical problems.

Passing Christian High School in Bas Christian on Tuesday 12 July 2022. Hana Rohoff [email protected]

The alleged attacks intensified when the boys enrolled in Jones College football camp in June 2021.

“Although Jones College provided[college]football players to sit in the hall at night to ensure that no student-athletes left the building, they did not go upstairs to supervise the boys in or around their dorm rooms,” the court papers say.

The attacks were recorded on FaceTime and Snapchat

Court papers at Jones College football camp say the boys had little direct supervision other than some college players who ran the lobby to ensure none of the players left the dorm overnight.

During that residency, the boy was repeatedly “bullyed, sexually harassed, assaulted, beaten, sexually assaulted, insulted or abused” by the five other co-defendants, according to court documents.

The victim was usually trying to sleep when the underage suspects assaulted him, taking off his clothes and pouring various liquids, such as hot ramen noodles, water and semen on the victim’s face.

In another assault, the victim said he woke up to suspects shoving Vienna sausage down his throat and stripping him of his clothes.

On another occasion, court papers say, suspects allegedly tore the victim’s clothes, separated his legs and arms, and showed the victim’s naked body to a girl in a FaceTime call.

Passing Christian High School in Bas Christian on Tuesday 12 July 2022. Hana Rohoff [email protected]

During each attack, underage suspects allegedly filmed and shared the event on social media, especially Snapchat.

The morning after one of the assaults, according to the records, the victim awoke to find an “insulting (Snapchat) video of hot semen” dripping down his face while other students watched and laughed.

The lawsuit alleges that the victim was able to recover a portion of this video.

Use GroupMe to discuss a soccer team attack

Court papers say that once soccer camp ended and the team returned to Bas Christian, the underage suspects attempted to cover up what happened during soccer camp in a discussion on the Bas Christian soccer team’s GroupMe account.

The discussion included jokes about the alleged attacks and coordination between the alleged suspects in order to “destroy evidence”.

In one letter, one of the underage suspects described the time they spent at the soccer camp as “for the sake of the books” and how they “don’t think (the victim) was too much fun”.

The other suspects responded with emojis of tears and laughter.

At one point, one of the alleged suspects blamed another for writing about what happened with the GroupMe account by telling him to close it and stop texting about it.

Someone else texted to say, “If you were all, I’d just say ‘You were messing around (or) you weren’t there.'” “

In other messages, the suspects said they would only say they were in their rooms at the time of the alleged attacks or threaten to beat anyone who named them suspects.

In other messages on the account, records say the suspects talked about how they deleted their Snapchat accounts to get rid of the videos.

One message said, “As long as no one shows the videos, you are fine.”

But by then an official at Pass Christian School had managed to get hold of one of the videos.

Some of the suspects sent messages to the victim asking if he had handed the video over to the school official.

Subsequently, court papers indicate that the victim was subjected to repeated harassment and further bullying.

Bullying is a recurring problem for school students in the United States. In a 2017 report from the National Center for Education Statistics, one in five students surveyed for the report said they had been victims of bullying at school.

Has anyone been accused of a crime?

The Sun Herald has reached out to Jones College, Pass Christian School District, and Mooney officials for any comments.

Mooney did not respond, but Bass School Principal Christian Carla J. Evers released a statement: “In the Bass Christian Public School District, we believe that all students excel when they are admitted, valued, and safe. Actions related to the event were handled in accordance with our Code of Conduct. As this is an ongoing legal and student matter, we will refrain from any further comment.”

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Carla C. Evers, Superintendent of the Bas Christian School District Justin Victory / The Sun Herald

Jones College president, Jesse Smith, said one of the boy’s parents reported the alleged attacks by members of the Bas Christian football team on June 22, 2021, while he was under the supervision of the “appointed” school official from Bas Christian.

“The College Police Department reported the alleged actions to the Jones County District Attorney’s Office on June 24, 2021, and to the Jones County Youth Court on June 28, 2021,” Smith said.

The Sun Herald reached out to the Jones County District Attorney’s office to see if anyone faced criminal prosecution in the case.

Jones County Attorney Brad Thompson, who was appointed to the position on July 1, previously served as Jones County’s attorney general. He also said that he also pursues a private career with a law firm representing Jones College and, as such, had to step down from suing the case.

As a result, Curtis Bates, the Wayne County District Attorney, agreed to serve as special prosecutor in the case, he said.

Bates declined to comment on the case, citing juvenile court privacy laws.

Bates said he could neither confirm nor deny whether anyone was being tried for the alleged crimes in juvenile court. According to state law, juvenile court proceedings are confidential and completely inaccessible to the public.

However, none of the minor students who were identified as adult suspects have been charged with any criminal offense, according to court records.

It is unclear whether the students have been subject to expulsion or other disciplinary action as a result of the alleged acts. But Mooney, assistant principal at Bass Christian at the time of the alleged crimes, has since been appointed principal at Bass Christian Middle School.

The victim’s parents are claiming civil damages for the boy’s psychological and physical pain, ongoing medical treatment, and more.

The lawsuit is only one side of the story.

Margaret Baker is an investigative reporter whose search for the truth exposes corrupt sheriffs, a police chief, and several wardens and leads to the first federal hate crime trial for the murder of a transgender person. She worked on the Sun-Herald award-winning Hurricane Katrina team. When you’re following a great story, it’s relentless.

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