In October of 2014, 5 members of the University of Virginia men’s swimming team were suspended from competition for what the school called at the time “violations of University of Virginia policy and athletics department rules.” Multiple sources would later confirm the suspensions to be on accusations of hazing.
All 5 men included in the 2014 suspension are now facing a serious, 10-count lawsuit including charges of assault, battery, false imprisonment, hazing, tortuous interference with a contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and two counts of conspiracy to commit those acts.
Kyle Dudzinski, Luke Papendick, Charles Rommel, David Ingraham and Jacob Pearce are defendants in the lawsuit, which was just filed by 19-year old Anthony Marcantonio this past Monday, June 22nd. The case also includes Marcantonio seeking punitive damages from the named upperclassmen. Marcantonio’s testimony includes detailing out several hazing incidents instigated by the defendants, including one particular situation in August 2014.
In his official statements, Marcantonio details how, in the late night/early morning hours of August 27-28th “he and other first-year members were instructed to participate in a series of hazing activities, some sexual in nature, under the threat of retaliation for non-compliance.” Per Marcantonio, he and other first-year swimmers arrived at what is called the “Swim House” and were “blindfolded and subjected to false imprisonment, forced drinking (of beers, liquor, milk and prune juice), verbal abuse, forced sexual contact and a variety of intimidation tactics — including the threat of forced sodomy — at the hands of the five upperclassmen.” (Daily Progress)
The case further revealed that Marcantonio and others were also “told to chew live goldfish and grab one another’s genitalia” and were asked sexually explicit questions regarding themselves, as well as members of Virginia’s women’s swimming squad. According to Marcantonio, the hazing continued into the following week, with the plaintiff receiving “threatening emails from a joint account created by the defendants under the name ‘Mr. Mean.” Messages of a “derogatory and degrading” nature ensued, which led to the first-year swimmers stealing items from “a retail store the university and another teammate” as part of a scavenger hunt, per the plaintiff’s statements.
Marcantonio claims he went directly to Virginia’s head men’s swimming coach, Augie Busch, as well as Virginia’s Dean of Students, Allen Groves on September 6th and 9th, respectively, to give testimony on the hazing and to seek their assistance. According to Marcantonio, this act was not only met with threats by the upperclassmen in response, but the help offered by Busch came in the form of being told his “physical safety could not be guaranteed.” Marcantonio says Busch simply recommended that the athlete “protect himself by only swimming when other members of the team weren’t present.”
Marcantonio, having since transferred to Northwestern University to continue swimming, blames the defendants for destroying his University of Virginia swimming career, causing Marcantonio to leave the University and void his contract with the team. Dudzinski and Papendick have since transferred to the University of Michigan, as just announced earlier this week.
More details, including any comments from Busch, Groves and the University of Virginia administration will be reported as soon as they are made available.