Exclusive pictures of Police investigation into WKU's swim team

Exclusive: Police investigation photos into WKU's swim team hazing obtained

BOWLING GREEN, KY (WAVE) – Western Kentucky University is being sued after a hazing scandal that shut down the school's swim team.

According to court documents, the lawsuit pertains to violations under Title IX, Educational Amendments, Sex Discrimination.

The demand is $75,000, the court documents show plus punitive damages.

Last January, 18-year-old Collin Craig filed a complaint with WKU alleging hazing, including incidents of sexual assault. Three swim coaches were fired and the university decided to shut down the swim program for five years.

"It's frustrating and disappointing to say the least," Craig's attorney, Vanessa Cantley told WAVE 3 News.

"This is not just kids being kids. This is physical, emotional, verbal abuse it rises to the level of hazing in anyone's definition of hazing," she said.

WAVE 3 News obtained photos from the Bowling Green Police Department's investigation after the allegations where made.

In one photo, a person is seen wearing a horse mask.

In another, several people are holding firearms.

And in yet another, racially and sexually charged images are drawn on bodies with permanent marker.

All of these incidents are reminiscent of what Craig alleges in his lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Craig was ordered to strip to his underwear, was blindfolded and ordered to wear a horse mask. He also claims he was threatened into obedience with the use of a rifle and drawn on with permanent marker, which coaches were able to see during practice.

The lawsuit also claims he was forced to drink alcohol until vomiting or passing out.

Western suspended the program for 5 years and fired three coaches.

"I think what can be taken from this lawsuit and hopefully what a jury will do one day is say, 'You know what, enough is enough,'" Cantley said.

The defendants include three former swim team members, the former swim team head coach, Bruce Marchionda and the former associate swim coach, Brian Thomas.

The lawsuit also names Athletic Director, Todd Stewart, Associate Athletic Director, Craig Biggs and Associate Athletic Director for Compliance, John McCammon.

Documents claims negligence, negligent hiring, supervision, and raining, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, defamation, and tortuous interference with contractual relations, and for punitive damages under Kentucky Law.

The lawsuit claims Marchionda and Thomas were informed of the abuse but failed to stop the hazing. It states Marchionda "created a culture of silence and encouraged swim team members not to disclose wrongdoing."

Stewart, McCammon, and Biggs are all accused of failing to provide support, training and supervision if athletes under the direction, in violation of NCAA and University policy.

Western responded with a statement:  "WKU completed a thorough investigation into this matter and will be defending the lawsuit filed by Mr. Craig. Given the fact this matter is in litigation, we do not feel as though we can make any further comment at this time and all other questions should be directed to our attorney, Thomas N. Kerrick."

Cantley says Craig is in California now and is still being harassed through social media and texts. He also received a humiliating package at his door, which she declined to describe.

She plans to pursue criminal charges through the county attorney's office.

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