Democrat Jay Chen ‘should have’ known about horrific hazing ritual as a school board member, lawsuit alleges
Collin Anderson • October 22, 2022 5:00 a.m.
As a member of the Southern California school board, Democratic congressional hopeful Jay Chen voted to reject a claim for damages from a high school student who was sodomized with a pole in a gruesome ritual of hazing.
Chen, who is currently a congressional candidate in California’s 45th congressional district, served on the Hacienda La Puente school board during a high profile hazing incident in 2011, which saw older members of a district men’s high school football team sexually assault and sodomize their younger teammates with a sharp, javelin-shaped stick. In October 2012, a victim filed a lawsuit for at least $25,000 against the district, alleging that Chen and other senior officials had failed to protect him. Chen filed a motion to dismiss the application in November 2012, board meeting minutes To display.
The victim later detailed the brutal attack in a lawsuit against Chen District, which cited the original claim for damages. “Plaintiff and other college football players were victimized after being lured into the back room … where sports equipment was stored,” the lawsuit said. “Before the assault, the victim is asked if they want ‘the easy way’ or the ‘hard way’. The easy way meant the victim leaned in and accepted the sexual assault without resistance, while the hard way meant that if the victim resisted, she would be physically assaulted by those present and have a foreign object forcibly inserted into her anus.”
Chen was explicitly mentioned in the lawsuit, which alleged that Chen knew or should have known of the “sexually abusive actions” and that the district “failed to protect” the victims. Chen District settled the lawsuit just days before the scheduled trial date in March 2016. The attacks also led to felony assault convictions against three minors.
Years after the ordeal, Chen mounts a high-profile bid to overthrow freshman representative Michelle Steel (R.). This run has seen Chen lean heavily on his academic background – his campaign site touts his role as a “school board member” and says he “devoted himself to public service and education” for “s ensure that all students have a chance to grow and succeed”. But Chen’s tenure on the school board could very well be his weak spot as a candidate.
Beyond his 2012 vote against sodomy victim, Chen in 2010 made an effort to introduce the Confucius Classroom program – which the Chinese Ministry of Education, a branch of the Communist Party of China, funds and operates – to K-12 classrooms in his district. The program reportedly brought CCP-supported teachers and educational materials to Chen’s community in Southern California. After local parents pushed back, the Chen district rejected teachers but accepted curriculum textbooks from China, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. Chen did not understand the outrage, telling the Daily News he “saw nothing sinister about using books from China” given that “virtually everything we use is made in China”.
Chen’s joining the program drew criticism from Steel, including the campaign in February Underline Democrats’ support for “CCP-sponsored schools.” Chen responded by accusing Steel – one of the first Korean-American women to serve in Congress – of engaging in “anti-Asian racism”. A few months later, Chen made fun of the Republican accent at a campaign event.
“She just had another town hall the other day. And it’s tough. Like, we transcribed it,” Chen said. “You kind of need an interpreter to understand exactly what she’s saying.”
In addition to his school board tenure, Chen touts his role as trustee of Mt. San Antonio Community College. Chen became chairman of the school’s board of trustees in 2015, and over the next four years the Democrat voted three times to raise tuition for nonresidents, the Free tag reported in June. Now Chen calls student loan debt “one of the biggest crises facing our country” as tuition fees “skyrocket.”
Chen first ran for Congress in 2012, losing to former Republican Congressman Ed Royce by 15 points. He will face Steel in November after winning 43% of the vote in the California primaries in June. Chen has raised $4.1 million to Steel’s $6.3 million as of Sept. 30.