Parents: No seniors involved in Dimond football sex abuse allegations
A group of parents of senior football players is speaking out in light of an incident of sexual abuse involving members of Dimond High School’s football team, which reportedly occurred during a weekend trip to Fairbanks.
On Wednesday night, about a dozen parents of the football team met up at a south Anchorage home to talk about the safety risks and what they say is misreporting by the media. Chantel, a parent who helped organize the meetup, said they want to set the record straight.
"No seniors were involved in this event," she said. "However, as result of the misreporting, they are now being threatened and harassed by fellow students, students from other schools and the community at large. Which is creating an even greater safety risk; that is just continuing. It's continuing the violence. And we have expressed our concerns to the school."
The investigation has caused the Anchorage School District to suspend the school’s football activities through this weekend.
Billy Strickland, the executive director of the Alaska School Activities Association, said Wednesday that ASD had informed the association of the suspension.
"It is temporary, at least for this week," ASD spokeswoman Catherine Esary wrote in an email Wednesday afternoon. "Dr. Bishop and the administration will re-assess once the APD investigation is complete."
ASD released the raw text of Bishop's message to Dimond families on Wednesday afternoon.
Dear Dimond High School parents and families,
As Superintendent of the Anchorage School District, on Monday, August 20, I learned of allegations of misconduct involving the Dimond High School football program. Student safety is the District’s number one priority. For this reason, I am suspending the DHS football program this week, including all practices, team activities, and games. A decision about the remainder of the season will be made pending further review.
Upon learning of this situation, Dimond High School immediately contacted the Anchorage Police Department. Dimond High School and the Anchorage School District take all allegations seriously and are cooperating fully with the Anchorage Police Department.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as this investigation proceeds.
Dr. Deena Bishop
Bishop provided a second statement Wednesday afternoon, following up on the first.
I have suspended the football program at Dimond High School and we are working with the Anchorage Police Department to investigate. We have zero tolerance for any inappropriate behavior. Until our investigation is complete, I have no further comment. Student safety is always our number one concern.
The decision came a day after district officials told Dimond High parents and students at a special meeting that the allegations involved at least two suspects and two victims, according to a parent who attended the meeting.
Chanelle, another parent, believes the season should continue.
"The seniors should not be - the rest of the players should not be punished based on the others' actions," she said. "These are great kids. They are amazing."
Chantel agreed with Chanelle and said the seniors' college careers ride on this season, which includes her son.
"He's worked so far to get this far and it's not, it's not ok to handle the situation in this way and jeopardize the future of even more students," she said.
Both the district and Anchorage police had received information about the case over the weekend after the team traveled to Fairbanks to play an away game.
Mary Simton, Dave Goldman and Dave Leval contributed to this story.
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