The Napa Valley School District forwarded a report to local police on allegations made by a man in a viral video that said he was brutally attacked by other boys in a Napa High School locker room ago 30 years as a student, and a famous man the trainer who saw the assault unfold did nothing to intervene.
The allegations, made in a video posted May 18 on TikTok, target an unidentified group of more than a dozen boys involved in the assault, the man and the longtime basketball coach said. of the school, Denny Lewis, who has since retired but was a physical education teacher at the time.
Napa Police have confirmed they have been in contact with officials from the Napa Valley Unified School District about the allegations made in the video, which was viewed around 720,000 and over 9,000 comments as of Friday afternoon. This shook the Napa community and prompted a closed-door meeting this week from the district school board.
“One of the school’s resource officers got the information, documented the report and watched the video,” said the Napa Police Sgt. Mike Walund said, confirming receipt of the district notice. “But no individual has reported to us. We can try to find him.
The video was posted in response to a widely circulated prompt on the TikTok short form video sharing app. This prompt: “Tell me about an experience you had with a teacher when you were younger that made a lasting impression on you.”
In his response, the man, who identified himself in the comments section only as Travis, described being attacked at Napa High by a large group of boys. The assault took place, he said, after being ostracized by other boys at the school because they suspected him of being gay.
An athletic trainer, who he later claimed was Lewis, responded to their derision by insisting that Travis couldn’t put on and take off his athletic clothes until the rest of the class l have done separately.
“Well, it just gave them a reason to be alone with me, and the coach knew that,” Travis says in the video.
One day, he added, “about fifteen boys dragged me into the back bathroom, under the watch of the coach, spread my legs and kicked me in the games. genitals until I passed out. He continues to describe other aspects of aggression in graphic detail.
He was left briefly unconscious and deeply terrified, he said in the video, posted under the pseudonym @ saucy.opath. Neither the coach nor any of the perpetrators have ever been punished, he said.
Lewis, 79, contacted by phone on Friday, said he was aware of the allegations but immediately dismissed claims he witnessed such violence and did not intervene.
“The most ridiculous thing I have ever heard,” he said. “I really feel for the gentleman. I don’t know why he used me for this story.
Lewis coached boys’ basketball at Napa High for almost 30 years and is a member of the school’s athletic half. Her adult daughter is still employed in high school.
Travis has not identified any of his attackers. But referring to the link to a 2012 Napa Valley Register article about a 1992 men’s basketball team reunion, he wrote, “Some of the players mentioned in this article were the authors.”
Travis’s post rocked a school community that was clouded four years ago by a troubling hazing scandal at Napa High, which tore the football team apart, led to the resignation of the successful college coach, a pitted families against each other and contributed to the departure. soon after Annie Petrie, then director.
The new allegations of student abuse on campus, though dated, have sparked renewed grief, outrage and suspicion among Napa High students and alumni, and raised the specter of possible behavior toxic in the locker room for many years.
“On the one hand, I feel loyal to my old school and my community,” said Kevin Reid, who was in Travis’ class at Napa High and ultimately served as class president. At the same time, I have compassion for this guy, especially for letting it be known. My heart goes out to him and his pain.
Reid added, “I don’t know the truth about this.”
This is another topical issue for Napa Valley Unified, which faced the hazing news of 2017, the community’s reaction to its decision to change the name of the Napa High mascot from Indians to Grizzlies in 2018, and now to Travis’ allegations.
“NVUSD is shocked, horrified and saddened to learn of these past abuses which, if they had occurred today, would be considered a hate crime,” the district said in a statement signed by Superintendent Rosanna Mucetti and Director of Student Services Mike Mansuy. . “The trauma the victim spoke of is incomprehensible and unacceptable.”