St. Paul's suspends boys lacrosse team

Players said to view sex videotape made by member of club

High School

March 30, 2001|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

The top-ranked St. Paul's boys lacrosse team forfeited yesterday's game at Friends and will not participate in four tournament games tomorrow in Connecticut after what the headmaster described as "an off-campus incident involving the school community."

Lacrosse coach Mitch Whiteley said he is "basically suspending the whole team" for behavior he described as "a case of the players letting something go on, and while they weren't directly responsible, they were responsible."

Said St. Paul's headmaster Robert Hallett: "Under all the circumstances, and in the interest of privacy, I am not at liberty to discuss the matter. However, the school intends to work to reinforce the [school's] principles and to take appropriate action."

FOR THE RECORD - The spelling of St. Paul's coach Mitch Whiteley's name has been corrected for the database. See microfilm for original story.

Hallett would not comment on the specifics of the incident. Although details could not be confirmed, two parents of St. Paul's students said a player videotaped - without her knowledge - himself and a girl from another school having sex at his home last Saturday.

The St. Paul's parents, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said all but eight members of the team then watched the tape at another player's house Monday. The St. Paul's roster lists 34 varsity players.

The players routinely gather at the home of a teammate to view game film on their next-day opponent, but on Monday, a team member called a party, announcing the sex video also would be viewed, one parent said.

The parents of the St. Paul's students said the girl's parents met with Hallett on Wednesday. Informed by Hallett of the situation, Whiteley removed his players from the practice field, later telling them the girl's parents were considering a civil suit, one of the St. Paul's parents said.

It was unclear if St. Paul's planned to discipline any players. Whiteley said he would spend the next few days "seeing what they [players] will do, what kind of commitment they'll make and whether they deserve to be playing for us.

"All of this didn't come to light until last night [Wednesday], and we've been putting it together over the last 12 to 14 hours. It's something that happened off school property," said Whiteley, an assistant principal of the upper school as well as director of college guidance. "No one took action. I'm holding them accountable for that."

Hallett said he has drafted a letter about the matter to be distributed to St. Paul's School students and parents.

St. Paul's (2-1), perhaps the nation's most talented high school boys lacrosse team, with 11 players having committed to play for Division I programs next season, was to play four games tomorrow in the Daniel Hand Jamboree in Connecticut.

"It's definitely a thing that happened among a bunch of kids, most of whom were athletes. Now, they've got to pay for it," Whiteley said. "The kids don't deserve to play [yesterday], and we're not going to the tournament Saturday."

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