During the attack they “then kicked the coat hanger several times, forcing it farther into the victim’s body and causing rectal injuries that required treatment at a hospital,” reported KTVB in Boise, Idaho. On Oct. 23, 2015, at an Idaho high school, three white football players, John R. K. Howard, Tanner Ward and a juvenile accomplice, sodomized a mentally disabled Black teen on their team with a coat hanger.
After the assault, the Black student endured months of harassment. He was called “Kool-Aid,” “chicken eater” and the N-word by the other players. Howard, the leader of the harassment, also placed a Confederate flag on the disabled teen’s computer and attempted to force him to sing a racist song called “Moonman Notorious KKK.” To avoid being charged with sexual assault, Howard pled guilty to a felony count of injury to a child, a lesser charge, reported the Daily Kos. By this plea, Howard, who was 18 at the time of the incident, will avoid classification of a sex offender and jail time for the heinous sexual assault.
Deputy Attorney General Casey Hemmer admitted that Howard’s actions were “egregious,” but later stated, “We don’t believe it’s appropriate for Mr. Howard to suffer the consequences of a sex offender. But he still needs to be held accountable.”
There is debate as to whether the actions of Howard should be deemed a hate or sexual crime. Not only did the victim face racial harassment but also his rectum was violated. In addition, allegedly there were other times when Howard simulated anal sex with younger players on the team. Allegedly, the juvenile white student involved in the attack not only ripped the victim’s underwear but also exhibited the same “dry humping” behavior on the victim.
Once Howard completes probation, his conviction will be dismissed entirely. The most punishment Howard will receive is 300 hours of community service.
The victim has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the district for its “deliberate indifference” toward his protection. The lawsuit reads, “With deliberate indifference, the Defendants did nothing to curb the vicious acts of Mr. Howard, who brought with him from Texas a culture of racial hatred toward the Plaintiff.”