SCRANTON, Pa. (CN) - A violent high school coach called a wrestler a "pussy" and a "faggot," assaulted him and harassed and humiliated him and his sister, who also was on the team, the family claims in court.
Codie and Amber Moeck claim wrestling coaches subjected the siblings to ridicule, bullying, obscenities, sexual intimidation and discrimination, culminating in physical assault and hospitalizations.
Their mother, Lori Moeck, claims both her children were abused so badly they had to go to hospital emergency room visits before they were forced to quit the team, and then were further tormented by peers at school after Codie was attacked during practice by head wrestling coach Mark Getz.
The family sued the Pleasant Valley School District, its Superintendent Douglas C. Arnold, assistant superintendent Anthony Fadule, high school principal John J. Gress and Getz, the head wrestling coach, in Federal Court.
Codie was asked to join the wrestling team as a freshman. He claims he had to threaten to quit the team to let his sister Amber wrestle. Amber was a junior with eight years of wrestling experience. The Moecks claim Getz and his team humiliated and demeaned her because she is a girl.
They claim that school administrators knew that Getz had a "propensity for aggression and inappropriate verbal abuse but ignored this behavior because of the success of the wrestling program which benefited the Pleasant Valley School District, and therefore, encouraged the inappropriate misogynist and homophobic culture."
The culture was fed by assistant wrestling coaches, who, with Getz, repeatedly harassed and abused Amber, the complaint states.
Coaches asked Amber if she had got her period, discussed a "threesome" with her, shared sexual encounters in graphic detail with the entire team, called team members "weak like girls," told male wrestlers to do wrestling moves "like you're with your girlfriend ... fully penetrate her," yelled at Amber to "get her balls to the mat," yelled "Hey, how's it feel knowing that's probably the only woman you'll ever have on top of you" to a special-needs boy who was wrestling Amber - among other things, according to the complaint.
One boy was cut from the team because his mother objected to team visits to Hooters, the complaint states. Another was banned from the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association for life after verbally retaliating against Getz, who had grabbed him by the throat and thrown him against a wall, according to the complaint.
The final straw came on Dec. 3, 2012, when the coaches goaded 145-pound Codie for quitting a match-up against a 220-pound student who "was known to lose his temper during 'live wrestle' (as if wrestling in a match) situations," the complaint states.
Codie claims he stopped wrestling because his opponent became violent and threw him through wooden double doors into the hallway. Getz ordered Codie back to wrestle, and allowed the larger boy to strike him on the side of the head with a closed fist before they were back into position, according to the complaint.
Codie claims Getz urged him to hit the larger boy back, but Codie tried to leave until assistant coach Zaricky blocked the door and said that leaving would harm Codie's chances of getting a scholarship.