Sexual Hazing at St. Patrick-St. Vincent: Vallejo Police Are Investigating

Principal Mary Ellen Ryan said in a statement that Coach Cerbone bears responsibility because he was the person in charge when the incidents took place


Police are investigating the sexual hazing incidents that led to the firing of St. Patrick-St. Vincent football coach Chris Cerbone, and to the expulsion of five students.

Vallejo Police Lt. Jim O’Connell told the Vallejo Times-Herald “the investigation has just started, and is ongoing.”

To read more about the . It's somewhat graphic. 

Coach Cerbone was not involved with the hazing, but Principal Mary Ellen Ryan said in a statement that he bears responsibility because he was the person in charge when the incidents took place. 

Many Patch readers commented on our original story, suggesting that by Ryan's logic, she too bears responsibility since she's hold authority over the whole school. 

"This is a travesty!" said one commenter. "The head coach should be reinstated, the principal should resign and the asst. coach should be fired. Charges should be brought against the predators and the asst. coach! Enough is enough!" 

Others said the matter needs to be investigated by police, which is exactly what's happening now. We'll follow the story as it plays out. 

"The Black Panther of Poetry" January 29, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Principal Mary Ellen Ryan is right on the money when she says that Coach Cerbone "bears responsibility"!!! He should be fired; our American Juris Prudence system is very fond of and quick to remind us that " ignorance of the law is no excuse"!!! So to translate that into this situation is to say that ignorance of what bad happens on your watch while especially watching kids, is no excuse. I will even go further and say that this wasn't a "hazing" at all. This was an outright freakish, harassing and abusive act perpetrated on a so called lower group of kids by a so called higher group of kids. It was un-disciplined, spoiled, over privileged, out of touch kids behaving badly, very badly. Hazing, I think is just a name put on it by the media and St Pats powers that be, to water down the actual heinousness of the act. To give it a kind of "Boys will be Boys angle!!!!
Justin Cox (Editor) January 29, 2013 at 10:36 PM
I don't have an opinion on the situation, but that logic seems a bit simplistic. If it's as simple as "coach is at fault because he was in charge," then you have to extend that line of logic up to Mary Ellen Ryan, who was in charge of the coach. Not to mention that the coach is indeed the only person who reported it. Nobody disputes that. As for the word "hazing," you make a good point. This does sound worse than that word implies. But "sexual hazing" specifies things a bit. Doesn't sound quite as "boys will be boys" in my opinion.
"The Black Panther of Poetry" January 30, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Dude, this is your open statement: "I don't have an opinion on the situation...." Now read your closing statement: "Doesn't sound quite as "boys will be boys" in my opinion". Remind me not to call you as a witness for me, when I land in hot water!!!
DeeperThinking January 30, 2013 at 05:00 AM
Ryan's direct charge is to run the school. The coach's foremost and primay responsibility is to keep those kids safe through DIRECT SUPERVISION. Reporting the incident is also his reponsibility, but that duty is second to keeping kids safe. He was not fired for reporting it. He was fired for FAILURE TO SUPERVISE the locker room. He does not get a "pass" just because he reported it. By YOUR logic, all of the perpetrators could have reported it together to obtain immunity to punishment. Had the coach fulfilled his primary responsibility, the incident could not have happened in the first place. Ryan has dozens of classrooms and hundreds of children in her charge. She fulfilled her responsibility quite effectively by completing a thorough investigation and firing Cerbone. But perhaps you feel that OUR kids would be so much safer if Cerbone returns to HIS old position and his old habits of supervision. If something goes wrong again, then he just has to be first to report it to be granted immunity and to keep his job. Over and over. Hmmm. That is YOUR shallow logic. We clear thinkers would feel safer leaving our kids with someone other than that coach. Regardless of whether it was reported by him, or a child, or an anonymous lette,he failed our school and the entire community in the worst way. He was derelict and failed those children. OUR children.
Rhonda January 30, 2013 at 03:44 PM
You must be forgetting the four assistant coaches, one of which the victim children said the incidents were reported and responded that he didn't care. The first reports of this incident and statements by the fired coach make an argument that another coach was responsible for the children at the time of the hazing incidents. No other coach was fired. This is why Cerbone spoke to the media in the first place. This is akin to leaving Sandusky working and firing Patrerno - in a mythical situation where Patrerno had reported the incident. I don't subscribe to the idea of punishing the top guy and leaving out the particulars. These assistant coaches are trusted by the school to be unsupervised by the head coach while supervising children. They must be responsible for their actions. Head coaches must be able to delegate, or why have any other coaches? Is a principal responsible for a teacher not stopping bullying in the classroom? Or is the teacher responsible for allowing abuse? Cerbone says that he was not responsible for these incidents, and that another coach turned a blind eye. This will probably be for a court of law to decide.
Michelle Kye January 30, 2013 at 06:51 PM
I am glad the police are investigating. Perhaps they can take some legal action against the perpetrators of these acts. The coach is in a tough position; yes, he was in charge and the buck always stops with whomever is in charge. However, in the coach's defense, I was involved in organized sports throughout my youth and college years, and I rarely saw a coach in the locker room, even when the coaches were female. I am glad he stepped up and reported the incident and I am sorry that he lost his job. He sounds like a decent human being who did what he could as soon as he found out. I can understand why his first notification was to his supervisors and not the police. Almost all organizations want to handle situations in-house first. I'm not sure it's the best policy but I do think the coach was probably right when he said he thought he would have been fired faster if his second call was to the police. The coach did the right thing in reporting the incidents regardless of the outcome. I also think the principal bears a responsibility to keep the students safe and free from harassment and sexual assualt in her institution. I don't know what role the assistant coaches played but if any one of them knew and failed to report the incidents to their supervisor(s), then they should expect to lose their job also. What is important is that a frank dialogue now takes place amongst administrators, faculty, and students to make sure this never happens again.
Harry Spider II January 30, 2013 at 08:18 PM
The whole reason that ASSISTANT coches exist is because one coach can't be everywhere. Expecting Mr Cerbone to be supervising ALL of them, at ALL times; is this realistic? let's say if Mr Cerbone had been in the locker room keeping an eye on them, and some other players had done this same thing out behind the bleachers, would you still have him fired? for what, failing to be ominpresent? I think Ryan's logic is faulty. Now, I read that one of the victims complained to an assistant coach, and that assistant failed to respond. THAT person IS directly responsible, and failed to intervene/respond; I think that THAT person should be fired, absolutely. But the head coach? I guess the question might be: what was the head coach doing while this was happening? if he was legitimately attending other players elsewhere, then it's reasonable that he expected his assistants to be in charge and not let such things occur. If he was napping or something, well maybe... but since HE is the one who reported the incident when he became aware, I doubt that... Based on the details of these articles, my opinion is NO, I don't think firing the head coach was appropriate.
"The Black Panther of Poetry" January 30, 2013 at 08:31 PM
First of all, let's keep this very important matter on the focus it should be on, our kids. Secondly babaloo, race has nothing to do with this matter. You are the only one in this whole discussion who brought up race. And thirdly you said,"Bobby is only supporting the firing because he is " not black". I am Black Babaloo, just look at my profile picture, that is me, one hundred percent!!!(LOL) "GOTCHA....YOU CAN'T OUT FOX A FOX!!!
leon johnson January 30, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Deeper Thinking ; you will find that debating these people is practically useless . most of them have formed their opinion without reading The Times article . had they read the article (or anything else for that matter) ,they would know that the coach waited 2 days to notify the principal after learning of the situation . that alone is a firing offense . I'm done
"The Black Panther of Poetry" January 30, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Thank you, sir!!!
Babaloo January 31, 2013 at 06:51 AM
i agree. the assistant coach who knew and did nothing is just as guilty as the "perpetrators". he knew but did nothing. didn't Penn State have something similar, and the person who knew but did nothing, didn't they get charged with a crime ? i don't know i am asking the question.
Babaloo January 31, 2013 at 06:52 AM
leon leon leon. did that really happen ? were you there ?
"The Black Panther of Poetry" January 31, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Put your own question that you put toward Leon to yourself, Babaloo. Ask yourself were you there at St Pats' and did that really happen!!!
Scott Burford January 31, 2013 at 08:29 PM
I'm happy to read that the Vallejo police have opened up an investigation. There has been a lot of discussion on this already, and I have shared my thoughts on that other post, so I wont repeat myself. Hopefully the Vallejo Police can uncover EVERYTHING that has happened surrounding this situation. Only then will we know for sure how many individuals, and who in particular, are guilty of wrongdoing and breaking the law. My gut feeling is that there will be more people involved, and possible more firings at this school. Regardless, this school has suffered a "black eye" that will be around for a while.
DeeperThinking February 01, 2013 at 03:31 AM
Rhonda, I am not forgetting anything. This discussion is about Cerbone, in response to Justin Cox. Apparently he, as well as so many other Benicians, believe that Cerbone should be exhonerated because he reported the incident, lack of responsibility be damned. He, as well as his fellow Benicians, think he should be retained because he reported the incident. Justin obviously believes that nobody should care about Cerbone's failure to protect those children, just as long as he reported it. The other coaches are a separate case. The firing of Cerbone has little to do with whether more individuals should be fired with him. The question here is whether CERBONE should be fired. Yes, he should. As far as your analogy about whether the principal is responsible for a teacher's failure to prevent abuse inside of the teacher's classroom, the answer is no. The teacher is responsible for his own classroom. The principal is not, and neither is the custodian, nor the Superintendant of Schools. The teacher is an adult, is a professional, and is certified by a code of ehtics. The locker room is Cerbone's classroom. I hope you are not suggesting that a teacher can allow abuse to take place in his own classroom by simply telling everyone that the principal is to blame because the principal's name is on the door. And the only reason this would go to court is if Cerbone himself believes that reporting the incident makes his behavior and his inaction harmless.
Babaloo February 01, 2013 at 05:03 AM
are you his "mouth peice bobby ? leon can speak from himself. if i was there it would not have happened...garbage in garbage out of bobby mouth...
anon February 08, 2013 at 09:02 AM
this is a test
anon February 08, 2013 at 09:32 AM
It's interesting how easy it is to form opinions, even when you don't have the facts. I guess the old saying is true... "Opinions are like elbows... Everyone's got one." Let's ask a question: What if by chance (fact) this coach was not fired because of this incident? What if this incident was the preverbal "straw which broke the camels back?" Hmmmm. Here are some facts: 1. The parents were about to go the principle with a petition to fire him for his "Lack of Coaching and respect for the players". 2. In 5 months the coach completely alienated himself from the faculty. 3. The main reason why those players were unsupervised, was because the coach fired ALL of the JV coaches. Instead of the 11 or so coaches, for the total program, which had been on staff, there were only 5. Oh, by the way, the reason why they were fired... There played for the previous coach. 4. The coach NEVER took responsibility for his actions... He openly blamed and embarrassed the players when they lost; he blamed the principle and everyone else because he lost his job. 5. It's been said that none of the present coaches were coming back if he was to remain the HC. For a short list, it is clear, that while this was a horrible event, the dismissal of this coach was far beyond this event.


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