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Three caucasian high school football players from a small town in Idaho have been accused of sexually assaulting an African-American mentally disabled teammate with a coat hanger, following months of harassment.

Last fall, the three football players lured the special needs student with an offer of a hug inside the Dietrich High School locker room, but instead proceeded to thrust a coat hanger into the boy’s rectum while one of the assailants kicked the object several times, according to the criminal complaint.

John Howard

John Howard

Court documents in a $10 million lawsuit filed by the victim’s family show that John R.K. Howard, 18, has been charged in the small town of Dietrich, Idaho with the heinous crime. Howard, whose uncle is the high school’s beloved basketball coach, was sent to Idaho from Keller, Texas, to live with family members because of behavioral issues, according to the lawsuit.

Another of his teammates, Tanner Ward, has also been charged as an adult in the case. Ward is still attending the school and Howard has moved back to Texas.

The victim, who was adopted by a white family in the overwhelmingly white town of Dietrich, suffers from mental disabilities. His parents have adopted “many” children during their marriage, according to court documents.

According to Idaho law, Howard and Ward could face life in prison. A third football player, a 16-year-old, has been charged as a juvenile and has not been named.


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