A Bolingbrook basketball standout is suing in federal court, alleging that sports staffers retaliated against him for transferring to in 2009.
A complaint by BHS graduate , filed Nov. 23 in federal court, claims the basketball star suffered "unfathomable abuse, harassment, and even torture" after switching schools.
The suit names RHS athletic director Jim Boudouris and head boys basketball coach Jeff Bambule, who are accused of conspiring to force the 6-foot-7 forward to return to Romeoville High School. According to court documents, the teen’s stepfather was told that the two men were “beginning an investigation and fabricating a charge that plaintiff did not legally reside in the BHS district."
The suit alleges that Hodges’ “character was attacked” and he was subjected to harassment and prank calls. Referring to Hodges’ “tremendous prowess in high school basketball,” the teen claims he was harassed “over basketball and its attendant greed and idolatry which infests high school officials to the hurt of the students.”
The complaint claims that Hodges was told that Bambule was “badmouthing [Hodges] to other people” and alleges that “Bambule and/or Boudoris would drive past plaintiff's home to check on who lived there, and to check on whether plaintiff's home was for sale.” The RHS coach is also accused of “stalking” Hodges at a basketball tournament in Indiana, and the teen accuses Bambule’s assistant coach of driving past the home “unnecessarily on one occasion.”
In court documents, Hodges said officials did conduct a residency investigation, adding his mother provided proof that he lived in Bolingbrook. However, the suit also claims that Hodges’ guardianship was transferred from his mother to his grandfather, who lives in Bolingbrook, but that the district “forced plaintiff to attend school at RHS, where as expected he was harassed routinely."
According to Community Relations Director Larry Randa, Hodges graduated from the campus in May.
The suit alleges that, as a result of the controversy, “someone from RHS" made prank phone calls to Hodges’ home, and that Bambule harassed the teen “through third parties” by talking and sending text messages about Hodges.
According to court documents, Hodges’ mother filed a complaint with the district regarding her son’s treatment the same month he transferred from RHS to BHS. Also in November 2009, the suit claims, she was convinced to drop the claim after being told the allegations would place the district under scrutiny and cause the IHSA to shut down the basketball program for 90 days.
The family reopened the complaint in August 2010 and the family met with Bambule, Boudouris and RHS’ principal in August 2010, Hodges claims. The complaint adds, "The meeting was a sham: the RHS principal refused to acknowledge plaintiff's mother's earlier complaints, and refused to believe that Bambule and Boudoris were guilty of any wrongdoing."
Hodges’ suit maintains Valley View violated his First Amendment right to free association, adding he had the right to attend the school of his choice as long as he met residency requirements. The harassment “caused [Hodges] to suffer and continue to suffer great emotional and physical anguish.”
Hodges . Previously, the teen retracted a verbal commitment to play for the University of Wisconsin.
Calls to Hodges' attorney Jason Craddock went unreturned Wednesday, and Valley View did not immediately respond to a request for comment.