SAYREVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — CBS 2 has learned that eight football coaches have been let go in connection with the Sayreville War Memorial High School football hazing scandal, in addition to the five coaches who were suspended.
Three paid part-time coaches and five volunteers were fired, a source told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan. The school board has not commented.
The action against the coaches came after seven high school football players on sexual abuse charges.
At a meeting Tuesday night, board members upheld the suspensions with pay of of popular Sayreville War Memorial High School football coach head coach George Najjar and four members of his staff. The suspended coaches are tenured and cannot be dismissed without further procedures.
And meanwhile, as the scandal persists, many feel the nation views Sayreville with disgust unfairly.
Residents say since the teenage football players were charged with sexually assaulting four younger teammates during hazing rituals in the school locker room, Sayreville just isn’t the same town.
“We got destroyed by a football incident that is not proven yet, but people got divided. And people that used to talk and be friends don’t talk anymore,” said Sayreville resident Sam Porcaro. “That’s what happened to this town.”
The division was out in the open on Tuesday night at a board of education meeting.
“I am not going to use my time to speak about Coach Najjar,” added varsity defense back coach John Bell at the meeting. “His character enough speaks for itself.”
“I can’t imagine cheering for anyone else but Najjar,” a high school cheerleader said. “He made me feel like I’m not just someone who stands on the sidelines.”
No one at Najjar’s home wanted to talk with CBS 2 on Wednesday, including whoever left in a sport-utility vehicle that pulled away.
But Porcaro said he doesn’t feel the tension just in town, but also when he goes out wearing his Sayreville shirt.
“I wore it on the train station and the guy said, ‘What are you wearing that shirt for?’ I said, ‘’Cause I live in Sayreville,’” Porcaro said. “He said, ‘Well, all the kids are rapists anyway.’”
Around Sayreville, some residents quietly told CBS 2’s Sloan the focus has been taken off of the victims, who in disturbing details have claimed they were anally violated.
The residents did not want to talk, but a half a dozen football players told CBS 2 that they never saw that abuse.
“When I was present in the locker room, nothing ever happened,” said varsity football player Justin Quintanica. No lights turned off. No howling. Nobody was held down.”
“I was in the locker room with them, just — it’s like, all false accusations,” added varsity football player Vincent Fultz.
The players who came out in public said they will not let the criminal charges against seven of their own define the team they were once a part of.
While the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office has launched a criminal investigation, Prosecutor Andrew Carey has not found that the five coaches suspended with pay did anything wrong.
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