Separate civil suit also claims that one of the students facing criminal charges terrorized the victim with racial slurs, nicknaming him ‘Kool-Aid.’
Three white high school football players in the small town of Dietrich, Idaho, are being charged with raping their black teammate.
Authorities say that on October 23, 2015, one of the teammates allegedly held out his arms, gesturing to the victim, Antwon McDaniel, to receive a hug. Instead he was pinned down and viciously raped, as one teammate thrust a coat hanger into the boy’s rectum while a third teammate kicked the coat hanger repeatedly.
Under Idaho law, two of the teenagers, John Howard and Tanner Ward, are being charged as adults and could face life in prison, while the third is being charged as a juvenile.
Additionally, the victim has filed a $10 million civil suit earlier this month against the Dietrich School District, alleging that the assault was not the only form of abuse McDaniel suffered, but the culmination of repeated, racially charged harassment.
The victim “was taunted and called racist names by other members of the team which names included ‘Kool-Aid’ ‘chicken eater’ ‘watermelon’ and [the N-word,” the suit claims.
The disabilities, along with his skin color, made him a target of physical and mental abuse, specifically at the hands of a white Texas transfer named John Howard, who is described in the lawsuit as a “large and aggressive male who had been sent to live with his relatives in Idaho due to his inability to keep out of trouble in Texas.”
Howard is not a party to the complaint. In the summer of 2015, Howard landed in the predominantly white, south central agricultural town of Dietrich, Idaho, pop. 338, where McDaniel’s attorney, R. Keith Roark, says he played the role of big fish in a very small pond. “We think that he indeed was cutting a rather wide swath in a very small school and made Antwon his target early on,” Roark said in an interview Monday. McDaniel says school staff looked the other way while Howard and his followers harassed him with racial slurs such as “nigger,” “chicken eater,” and “watermelon.”
But that was just the tip of the iceberg, according to McDaniel, who says the harassment increased in severity, including during football practice, where teammates aggressively “humped” him and jumped on him from behind, stimulating anal sex. During a bus ride home from a football game, teammates forcibly stripped him and took photos with a cellphone. He also was forced to sing a racially charged Ku Klux Klan song that Howard learned in Texas, according to the complaint.
In addition to Dietrich High School, the lawsuit specifically names 11 employees as defendants, claiming these school administrators and coaches consciously decided to act negligently in stopping the racial/physical abuse towards McDaniel.
The suit claims further that Dietrich football coaches encouraged other players to fight the victim, allowing a fellow teammate to beat him unconscious.
In particular, the lawsuit paints Howard as the ringleader of the racist abuse against McDaniel, who is being charged as an adult with one count of forcible penetration by use of force or a foreign object. 17-year-old Tanner Ward, according to Magic Valley, has also been charged as an adult with forcible penetration.
Two of the students named in the civil suit were expelled in November.