Photo Credit: Eric Leonard
A Westlake High School senior has threatened to go to court if his academic record isn’t scrubbed of what he says – was an unjust 5-day suspension.
Dominic Conti, 17, held a press conference with his attorney and parents outside the campus Wednesday to say he’s worried the punishment will affect his ability to get into college and get scholarships, even though he’s maintained a 4.4 grade-point-average and had been selected as senior class president.
“I don’t understand why they’re doing this to me,” Conti told reporters, surrounded by friends and supporters.
Conti said he was stripped of his class president title, suspended, and threatened with expulsion after he scuffled with one of Westlake’s football players, who Conti said had been sexually harassing his 15-year-old sister.
He said he suspected the school had taken action against him to protect its prized football program.
“I can make an assumption, yes,” Conti said.
His parents have hired attorney Manny Medrano, who said he will file a lawsuit if school or state administrators fail to reverse the suspension and cleanse Conti’s otherwise unblemished record.
The Conejo Valley School District previously issued a written statement but has not responded to Conti’s latest statement:
“We respond immediately, and proactively to deal with allegations of sexual harassment when they are brought to our attention. We take responsibility to protest students from sexual harassment very seriously,” said Superintendent Jeffrey Baarstad.
Medrano stopped Conti or his father from speaking about the incident last year, in which Conti previously said he defended himself after the football player, “lunged,” at him and his father and threw a punch.
In an earlier media interview Conti said he and his father had brought a school security guard along to confront the player about several sexual harassment incidents involving his sister. The guard witnessed the incident and prosecutors declined to charge Conti or his father.
Marcus Evans, who said he was the parent of a Westlake High School football player, confronted Conti and his supporters at the press conference and claimed the teen was lying about the scuffle.
“He’s a fake,” Evans said of Conti. “He’s supposed to be some Christian guy, come on dude, what Christian chokes a kid? He choked his neck, you know it!”
Conti’s parents say they’re convinced the school has inappropriately defended its prized football players several times, including after an incident last year during a football tournament in Waikiki, when two dozen team seniors forced their way into a room with five freshman and allegedly sexually assaulted the younger students.
Prosecutors in Hawaii declined to file charges after several of the players were flown home early, hired attorneys, and refused to speak to police.
-- Eric Leonard (@LeonardFiles) in Westlake Village