Last week's original story about three white high school football players charged with raping their disabled Black teammate with a coat hanger in Idaho was shocking and disturbing enough.
But the details that have emerged since just take this story to a new level of disgust.
Tim and Shelly McDaniel, the adopted parents of the 18-year-old victim, reportedly notified Dietrich High School in Idaho about the racist harassment and physical abuse that was ruining their child's senior year in the months that led up the boy being raped last October in the school's locker room.
But according to The Washington Post, all their complaints fell on deaf ears, as the school, its administration and coaches just ignored them.
"I needed to know how to keep him safe, and we were just shunned," Shelly told the Post.
The McDaniels (pictured above), who are white, have 25 kids in total — including five biological children and 19 castaway kids from across the country that they've adopted — with many of them being Black. In fact, the Post reports that their adopted Black children, including the victim in this story, account for almost the entire Black population in Dietrich, Idaho, a Mormon town.
To perhaps further illustrate the racial divide in the town and its community being on edge following this incident, the Post reports that after the McDaniels announced a $10 million lawsuit against Dietrich High School earlier this month, one of their adopted daughters went to visit Tim at the school last week. Little did she know that the unannounced visit to Tim, a biology teacher at the school, would cause the school to evacuate all its students and detain her. Wow.
According to the Post's original story, the 18-year-old rape victim, who suffers from disorganized schizophrenia, was tricked into giving one of his teammates a hug inside the school's locker room last October. He was then was restrained by one teammate and had a coat hanger shoved into his rectum by another, with a third teammate kicking the hanger several times.
"I screamed," the boy said while testifying last month, as reported by MagicValley.com. "I was pretty upset bad. A little betrayed and confused at the same time. It was terrible — a pain I've never felt."
The three players were expelled last November before being charged with sexual assault. Two of the white high school football players, John R.K. Howard (pictured below) and Tanner Ward, are being charged as adults and could potentially face life in prison under Idaho's state laws.
Part of the McDaniel lawsuit alleges that the victim was "taunted and called racist names by other members of the team, which names included 'Kool-Aid', 'chicken eater', 'watermelon' and [the N-word]."
Within that, Howard also allegedly forced the victim to recite a racist song, "Notorious KKK," set to the sounds of a Notorious B.I.G. track.
The regular abuse, as outlined by the lawsuit, also allegedly included Howard and his teammates “aggressive ‘humping’, jumping on him from the back and simulating anal sex.”
As blatant and heinous as their assault toward their disabled teammate was, there are still those in Dietrich that don't think the rape was a crime.
“They’re 15-, 16-, 17-year-old boys who are doing what boys do,” Hubert Shaw, whose daughter-in-law is Howard's aunt, told the Post.
Really? Since when is allegedly raping a disabled teammate "doing what boys do"?
For what it's worth, the Dietrich mayor, Don Heiken, thinks the school did the victim and his family wrong and should pay for it.
“I think they oughta fire them all,” Heiken told the Post. “When this happened, everybody just swept it under the rug. These two boys were the top players on the football team. [The coaches] didn’t want to rock the boat. They were having such a good season.”
Absolutely disgusting — and the fact that the McDaniels voiced their growing concerns via complaints in the months leading up to the crime shows that the school, its administration and coaches had a chance to end this abuse before it got to this level.
We hope this young man and his family get the justice they deserve.
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(Photo: TARRANT COUNTY CORRECTION CENTER)
(Photo: Rob Kuznia/The Washington Post via Getty Images)