Only two events can empty out the single grocery store in the tiny town of La Vernia, Texas: church on Sunday or a Friday night football game at the local high school. “It’s all about the Bears,” one parent said.
But it wasn’t Homecoming or the upcoming Powder Puff game that had the town talking this week. Instead, its 1,200 residents were left reeling after more than 10 boys came forward with sexual-assault allegations against athletes in the beloved La Vernia High School football program—claims that have led to the arrests of nine students, including seven juveniles and two adults, and threaten to tear this San Antonio bedroom community apart.
Details are few where minors are involved, but one mother speaking to local media described the alleged assaults: “Kids were holding them down in the locker rooms, there was a lookout at the door watching for coaches not to come. They hold them down and stick various items up their rectum… including Coke bottles, deodorant bottles, steel pipes, baseball bats, and broomsticks.” The seven arrested juveniles were taken into custody Thursday and immediately released to their parents. Two 18-year-old suspects were arrested Monday and booked in at the Wilson County Jail on charges of sexual assault of a child. The Daily Beast has chosen not to name them because they are still students at La Vernia High School.