CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Five former members of the University of Virginia men’s swim team are asking a judge to dismiss a hazing lawsuit by an ex-teammate who has accused them of ordering unwanted sexual contact and forcing him to eat a goldfish.
In motions filed this week in U.S. District Court, attorneys for the five say that Anthony Marcantonio failed to provide sufficient facts to support his allegations of assault, false imprisonment and hazing. They also say that Marcantonio received written notice of the August 2014 “Welcome Week” activities, that he was a willing participant and that he could have opted out of any activities he found objectionable.
The defendants are Kyle Dudzinski, Luke Papendick, Charles Rommel, David Ingraham and Jacob Pearce.
The complaint names Dudzinkski as the “ringleader.” His attorney, John Patrick Rowan, declined to comment beyond what is in the motions to dismiss.
In his lawsuit, Marcantonio said he and other first-year students were blindfolded; forced to drink large quantities of alcohol and prune juice, among other liquids; and subjected to verbal abuse, forced sexual contact and threats by upperclassmen. For the sexual contact, the first-year students were told to form a straight line, reach behind themselves and grasp a teammate’s genitals, the complaint says.
The lawsuit also cites physical harm to one of the other first-year swimmers. It says his eye was injured when a glass bottle was smashed on the ground.
The response filed by Ingraham’s lawyer says the events are intended “to enhance the competitive excellence of the team and build the intense esprit de corps necessary for success at the most elite level of college swimming.”
The alleged five-hour hazing did not result in any criminal charges.
Marcantonio has since transferred to Northwestern University and joined the men’s swimming team there.
A judge had not ruled Friday on the motions to dismiss the lawsuit.
The Daily Progress first reported on the defendants’ filings.
Information from: The Daily Progress, http://www.dailyprogress.com
The Associated Press