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Former UVa swimmer files suit against five other UVa swimmers for alleged hazing events

A little downer news amidst an otherwise great week for Virginia Atletics

Evan Pike-USA TODAY Sports

As first reported by the Daily Progress, former first year Virginia swimmer Anthony Marcantonio filed a lawsuit in federal court in Charlottesville this week. The suit alleges counts of assault, battery, false imprisonment, hazing, tortuous interference with a contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and two counts of conspiracy to commit those acts from last August for alleged acts towards himself and other first-year swimmers.

The five named defendants - Kyle Dudzinski, Luke Papendick, Charles Rommel, David Ingraham and Jacob Pearce - were all upperclassmen at Virginia at the time. All five had been suspended from competition in October last fall for violations of university policy and athletic department rules. Ingraham had also been suspended from competition in October 2013 with a group of another eight athletes.

The Daily Progress article does a good job recounting the alleged hazing activities in the lawsuit:

On the night/early morning of Aug. 27/28, Marcantonio claims in the suit that he and other first-years arrived at a Wertland Street house commonly referred to as the "Swim House," and repeatedly were blindfolded and subjected to false imprisonment, forced drinking (of beers, liquor, milk and prune juice), verbal abuse, forced sexual contact and a variety of intimidation tactics — including the threat of forced sodomy — at the hands of the five upperclassmen.

Among other alleged hazing activities that night, the suit claims that first-years were told to chew live goldfish and grab one another's genitalia. They also, according to the suit, frequently were asked sexually explicit questions about themselves and members of the UVa women's swimming team. The suit claims there was physical harm done to one of the other first-year swimmers, whose eye was injured when a glass bottle was smashed on the ground.

The suit claims the hazing activities continued into the following week, with members of the first-year class receiving threatening emails from a joint account created by the defendants under the name "Mr. Mean." The suit says the messages, filled with harrowingly derogatory and degrading insults, compelled the first-year swimmers to complete a "scavenger hunt" that required them to steal items from a retail store, the university and another teammate.

According to the suit, despite informing Virginia Men's Swimming Head Coach Auggie Busch and Virginia Dean of Students Allen Groves of the incidents, the only guidance Mercantonio received was to avoid swimming when the upperclassmen were present, and that his physical safety could not be guaranteed.

Mercantonio has since transferred to Northwestern, where he swims for the Wildcats' men's swimming team.

Per the Daily Progress, as for the five defendants, Pearce and Rommel stayed with Virginia, posting career-best times at the ACC championships. Dudzinski and Papendick transferred to Michigan, as announced last week. Ingraham, despite winning the 2013 ACC championship in 800m free relay, did not continue with the team following his suspension.