Conestoga High School Hazing Fallout: Football Coach Sues T/E School District Administrators

Fourteen months ago in March 2016, the TE School District fired five Conestoga High School football coaches and head coach John Vogan resigned after Chester County DA Tom Hogan charged three football players with sexual assault of a younger player. The investigation stemmed from a freshman football player’s allegations that three senior players held him down and penetrated his rectum with a broom handle in October.

The teenage victim of the Conestoga High School football hazing scandal claimed that the school district failed to protect him from hazing and sexual abuse.The District claimed that the fired football coaches failed to supervisor the football players in the locker room. A letter from the school district at the time of the charges stated, “The locker rooms had an insufficient adult presence throughout the football season, creating an environment where hazing activities could occur …”

In January of this year, the District Attorney office announced that the former football players plead guilty to a lesser charge of harassment and the assault charges were dropped. Because the most serious charge of assault was dropped, some in the community pointed to this as proof that no assault occurred.

Thomas Batgos, an assistant football coach fired by the T/E School District, has now filed a lawsuit against District administrators – Superintendent Dr. Richard Gusick and Conestoga High School principal Dr. Amy Meisinger, in addition to the father of the accuser in the incident. Batgos’ lawsuit cites defamation of character, misrepresentation, fraud and improper termination and seeks at least $50,000 in compensation plus punitive damages.

At the time the coaches were fired, the TE School District indicated that the coaches were responsible for oversight of the football players in the locker room. In his lawsuit, Batgos claims that it was not his job as a part-time football coach to supervise the locker room (where the alleged assault occurred).

The entire T/E School District community has really struggled to move on – the allegations against the Conestoga High School football players was reported nationwide. Dealing with the situation has been a challenge for the young men accused but as a community we also need to remember the lives and reputations of the football coaches were forever changed.

If you are Batgos and the other football coaches, how do you move on after your reputation is ruined and your standing in the community is damaged?

Although other Conestoga football coaches were terminated, Batgos is the only one to date who has filed a lawsuit. But I am guessing that there could be more lawsuits to follow and it is interesting to note that Batgos sparred the school board in his legal action.

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7 Comments

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  1. Batgos is the only coach suing because he doesn’t work for the School District. He is not a teacher. The other coaches work directly for the school district and would suffer consequences if they sued their employer.

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  2. Good point.

    However, the law protects teachers against retaliation in the workplace.
    And, the fired person deserves their day in court.
    A settlement may happen as well.
    Most important, students are hopefully more protected In after school activities per policy.

    [Reply]

    RL4Life Reply:

    Liz, I’m sorry but I haven’t seen the new policies. What are they?

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    In the know Reply:

    Employees know that TESD can and will retaliate against Coaches who sue in many ways, many of them legal.

    They clearly demonstrate over and over they are not afraid of law suits. If they were they would respect the law in the first place.

    They’ll do whatever it takes: gossip, shunning, rumors to turn other employees against the worker. Accusations against the worker will begin and escalate. Any expressed mistreatment will viewed as a threat and humiliating tactics will be used which serves a dual purpose of instilling fear in the workforce which further erodes the worker’s support and reputation.

    Suing TESD is the last thing they’ll do if their goal is a successful career.

    Batgos is accusing the Principal and the Superintendent of breaching so many laws and causing so much damage that he can’t recover without legal remedy. He is the only Coach in a position to take legal action because he won’t have to endure an avalanche of accusations and smears on his professional and personal life because he doesn’t work in the schools. He will also have the support, if not silent, of many co workers and parents around him who have suffered like him but can’t do what he is doing. The co workers won’t fear retaliation for their support for Batgos because he and they are not easy targets for School Officials.

    Batgos is the only employee in a position to sue District Leadership without threat of retaliation or personal harm to his name and reputation.

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  3. I would check policy on the TESS.net
    I did email the administration and School. Oars several college policies on hazing.
    I also thought the association that regulates the athletic teams imposed some oversight?

    I also thought at the last hazing public meeting at CHS, the Superintendent stated those relieved of their football coaching responsibilities would or could be reinstated after one year. I asked that question he responded in that way.
    I am sorry to hear about retaliation in the workplace but I am not aware of any. Is there any evidence of retaliation?
    I assume Teachers are somewhat protected through their TEAA union. I assume the union would go to bat for a teacher using union lawyers and representatives.
    First, retaliation must be proven.
    The football stipend would be a financial loss but I assumed those coaches did not lose their jobs?
    Did any other coaches lose their teaching jobs?
    Did those coaches resume coaching?
    I agree a non teacher would probably have less personal consequences than teachers.
    It would be interesting to see if any other teachers in any case have sued the District and incurred retaliation.
    I know of none.

    [Reply]

    Anonymous Reply:

    “I am sorry to hear about retaliation in the workplace but I am not aware of any. Is there any evidence of retaliation?”

    http://pattyebenson.org/2015/04/

    I have learned that subsequent to the Board’s February vote to change the employment status of the aides and paras, that School Board president Kris Graham barred her fellow school board member Liz Mercogliano from attending any of the five secret ACA meetings. This information is very troubling; Liz is an elected official and has the same rights as the other eight members. How could the District solicitor and other Board members sanction this behavior and not speak out?

    [Reply]

  4. Go to TESD.net
    Do pull down-right of home button
    Look for policy and…
    Check student policies under Hazing
    Hazing policy 5421
    Sorry for typos:)
    Happy Memorial Day!

    [Reply]

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