MARLBORO – Several Marlboro High School students, who are or were members of the varsity football team, and their parents, have filed a federal complaint in US District Court calling for the head coach to be fired.
The lawsuit, against coach Richard Ward, School Superintendent Ray Castellani and the Marlboro Central School District, alleges Ward verbally and physically abused the boys on his football team and that Castellani and the school district knew about it and did nothing to stop it.
The complaint seeks compensatory and punitive damages against Ward and Castellani and compensatory damages against the school district.
The suit was filed by attorney Michael Sussman on behalf of graduated students Michael Corcoran III, Dylan West, and Dominic Santora, as well as Alfred and Kerstin Votta, the parents of R.V. and J.V., current students and both under the age of 18, and Jimmy Farrett, who will graduate from Marlboro High in June 2014.
At issue are allegations that Ward grabbed some of the players by their face masks and jerked their heads, while screaming profanities at them.
It is also alleged that Ward told members of his team to send opposing players home in “body bags.”
“They affected a large number of students, students with the team, and many students who had promising careers felt that the environment was intolerable created by this coach,” Sussman said. “The school district received complaints and from our point of view, protected the coach because he is a strong coach; he has a winning record.”
When notified of the alleged abuse, Castellani took no action against Ward, the complaint maintains.
In addition to asking the court to remove Ward as head coach and provide monetary damages, the suit calls for implementation and enforcement of accepted codes of conduct on the part of coaches or others having contact with students.