MENTOR, Ohio — In the aftermath of an incident involving a Lake Catholic lacrosse player appearing to have a swastika on his leg during a recent game, the school's head boys lacrosse coach has resigned.
Chris Hastings confirmed his resignation as both soccer and lacrosse coach at Lake Catholic to 3News' Marisa Saenz on Monday. Hastings told Saenz that he was a part-time employee of the school and was not a teacher. In addition, Hastings told Saenz that the Lake Catholic assistant lacrosse coach has also resigned.
Parents and staff at Orange High School were outraged after a Lake Catholic lacrosse player appeared to have a swastika drawn on his leg when the two schools squared off in a game last week.
Orange High School Superintendent Lynn Campbell told 3News he wasn't at the game, but heard about the incident the following morning.
"There was a student wearing a swastika on his leg that was noticed by some of our athletes on the field," Campbell said. "I don't know how that went unnoticed and seemingly unaddressed for a large part of the game."
Hastings told Saenz that he didn't show up to the game until midway through the first quarter. His assistant coach was there to start the game. Hastings said he was unaware about the swastika being on his player's leg until the Orange coach said something to him at the end of the game.
The Diocese of Cleveland released the following statement about the incident:
"Administrators at Lake Catholic High School have been made aware of the very serious allegations of anti-Semitism involving a player on the school’s varsity lacrosse team as well as a Lake Catholic fan during the game against Orange High School yesterday evening. The behaviors alleged are reprehensible and contrary to the Gospel values that Lake Catholic works so hard to promote.
"Lake Catholic is currently conducting an investigation into the matter in order to gather all the facts. Once the investigation is completed, appropriate action will be taken to address the matter.
"Lake Catholic and the Diocese of Cleveland condemn anti-Semitism in any form and extends its sincere apologies to the Orange High School community for the hurt they are experiencing as a result of what has been reported."
3News also obtained a letter sent from Lake Catholic President Mark Crowley to parents and guardians of the school about the incident. (The letter was shared to 3News by a parent)
"Dear Lake Catholic Parents and Guardians,
"I felt it important to inform you that we have received a very serious allegations of anti-Semitic behavior involving our boys varsity lacrosse team as well as a Lake Catholic fan during the game against Orange High School yesterday evening. The alleged behaviors are contrary to the Gospel values that Lake Catholic works so hard to promote.
"While we are not yet certain about what occurred, please know that we are currently conducting an investigation into the matter in order to gather all the facts. Once the investigation is completed, appropriate action will be taken to address the matter.
"In the meantime, we want to clearly condemn anti-Semitism in any form and extend our sincere apologies to the Orange High School community for the hurt they are experiencing as a result of what has been reported.
"Let me be clear that we will not tolerate any behavior that seeks to diminish in any way the dignity of any person. Recognizing that each person is made in the image and likeness of God, we expect each and every member of the Lake Catholic High School community to model Christ at all times.
"We ask that you to talk to your student to reinforce the importance of seeing the God-given dignity of each and every person and of the need to love others with the heart of Christ.
"In the Gospel of John, our Lord Jesus prayed to the Father that we might be one, let us join our prayer to Christ’s and pray together for an end to all hatred and division in our local community and throughout the world.
"Mark Crowley, President of Lake Catholic High School"