A tenth suspect has been arrested in La Vernia, Texas on charges of sexual assault in a case that involves at least 10 victims and has rattled the tiny town of 1,200 just southeast of San Antonio.
La Vernia High School senior Alejandro Ibarra, 17, was charged on Wednesday with sexual assault, just two days after his Varsity football teammates, 17-year-old Robert Olivarez, Jr. and 18-year-old Dustin Norman, were arrested in the case. Seven juveniles were also arrested last week and charged with sexual assault, according to La Vernia Police Chief Bruce Ritchey.
Police have said other teams in the athletic department, including the baseball and basketball teams, were also involved in the alleged assaults.
Up to—and after—his arrest, Ibarra actively supported his accused teammates on Facebook, commenting on several community threads. On one local reporter’s Facebook post concerning Olivarez’s and Norman’s arrests, Ibarra wrote, “These two didn’t take apart of it,” and “They didn’t do anything… I was with them every day and we were never involved in this stupid shit!…If you don’t know the whole story behind it don’t bother commenting… and yes they are my friends… my brothers.. I was raised with them.”
Ibarra is the most recent, but not likely to be the last, student charged in what seems like an ever-widening case of alleged systematic sexual assault within the school’s popular athletic program. “Every time we turn around, we find another suspect, more victims. We anticipate more arrests in the future,” Ritchey told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.
The three teens and one other suspect are accused of holding down a 16-year-old boy who was transferring from Junior Varsity to Varsity football, and sexually assaulting the player as part of a November 2016 initiation, according to arrest affidavits. The players were all at a home off-campus when they shouted “Get him!” and allegedly pinned the 16-year-old face down on a bed while sodomizing him with the threaded end of a carbon-dioxide tank.
“The victim struggled to stop the assault, but was overpowered by the four suspects and pinned down where he could not move,” wrote La Vernia police Sgt. Donald Keil, in the arrest affidavits.
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