UPDATE Wrestler bullying lawsuit settled for $100,000 - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE Wrestler bullying lawsuit settled for $100,000

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) - An insurance company for the Wisconsin Rapids School District paid $100,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a former high school wrestler who accused school officials of failing to protect him after he became a target of bullying, sexual and verbal abuse and harassment by members of the team, the school superintendent said Thursday.

No other conditions were part of the settlement involving the former student who is now 19 and the total includes attorney fees, Superintendent Colleen Dickmann said.

The civil rights lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Madison, accused the school district of violating its own policy that prohibits disability-based bullying and discrimination.

The attorney for teen, who is deaf and legally blind, has said only that the settlement was for six figures.

The settlement dismissed the lawsuit and the school district moves on, Dickmann said, declining further comment.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) – The Wisconsin Rapids School District has settled a lawsuit filed by a former high school wrestler who accused school officials of failing to protect him after he became a target of bullying, sexual and verbal abuse and harassment by members of the team, an attorney said.

The teen, who is deaf and legally blind, received an undisclosed amount of money as damages from the school for incidents that occurred during the 2010-11 school year, attorney Christine Bremer Muggli said.

It was six figures. I don't have the authority to tell you more than that,” she said Wednesday.

Wisconsin Rapids School Superintendent Colleen Dickmann issued a statement, saying, This settlement reached by the insurance company on behalf of the school district is in the best interests of all parties and brings this matter to a close.”  She was not immediately available for further comment, her assistant said.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Madison, accused the school district of violating its own policy that prohibits disability-based bullying and discrimination.

He would like to make sure bullied people everywhere know that there is hope for those who stand up for themselves and do not let the bullies win,” Bremer Muggli said in a statement. “(His) bravery in coming forward, while difficult, was worthwhile in effecting change.”

Prosecutors charged four high school wrestlers with disorderly conduct for alleged roles in the harassment.

The teen reported the four taunted him in the locker room, touched him inappropriately and danced around him while they were naked, according to a criminal complaint.

After the allegations surfaced, the school district warned an assistant wrestling coach for failing to report the teen's complaints to appropriate authorities and issued a written reprimand, including a four-match suspension, to the head wrestling coach, Bremer Muggli said.

While the problems at Wisconsin Rapids Public School District are far from solved – only effort, time and community support can help the wrestling program rebuild its reputation – (the teen) did his part in trying to make sure no other student has to experience what he experienced,” the attorney said.

The teen, who is now 19, graduated from the Wisconsin School for the Deaf and will be a freshman next fall at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., Bremer Muggli said.

Where he had no hope, he now has hope,” she said. “Where he had no confidence, he now has confidence in the future and where he had no future plans, he now has a scholarship to one of the best universities in the country.”

Newsline 9 is not naming the teen because he was the victim of alleged sexual assault.









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