An alumni group is asking the Vatican to look into a slew of incidents they say has tarnished the private Catholic school’s reputation.
The group, led by former basketball player Brian Culhane, has sent a “fat package of allegations and grievances” to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees issues of morality in the Roman Catholic Church, according to an investigative report by the sports gossip website Deadspin.
The allegations surround the varsity basketball team and its head coach, Joe Wootten.
Deadspin reports that Wootten sought the transfer of Congolese basketball player Junior Etou, who was the key figure on the team’s 2013 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship. The site found that Etou was very likely 21 years old when he played for O’Connell, two years too old to be eligible for high school play.
Etou, who was living with Malone at the time, produced a passport and visa that said he was born in 1994. While he was living in the Congo, however, he had earlier provided a birth certificate to basketball’s governing body stating he was born in 1992.
The report also alleges a cover-up by school officials after two basketball players allegedly filmed a sex act with a female student at the school. The players transferred before the last school year. Via Deadspin:
The talk was that Wootten’s latest exiles had left under an ugly cloud — that one of the players had shot a video in which a female student performed oral sex on the other player inside the school, then, according to an O’Connell employee, “posted his work on Instagram.” All of those alleged to be involved were juveniles and underclassmen.
Students found to have committed what is described in memos from O’Connell alumni to school and local Catholic officials as “a sexually immoral act” on campus are generally expelled, Culhane says; however, according to the rumors, the two boys were allowed to leave without any formal finding, while the girl alleged to have been involved remained enrolled at O’Connell. Culhane says alums who inquired about the incident were told by school administrators that she faced no punishment because “the [sex] act was not consensual.” Yet no charges were ever filed.
The Arlington County Police Department investigated the video, but spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said no charges were filed and the identity of the subjects could not be revealed because they were minors.
The confluence of events — without a satisfactory response from O’Connell administration of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington — prompted Culhane and his alumni to request Pope Francis step in. If the CDF and the Vatican decide it’s worth pursuing, according to Deadspin, it will compel Bishop Paul Loverde to investigate the school and the program.
O’Connell administration has not responded to a request for comment.
Update at 4:20 p.m. — The Catholic Diocese of Arlington has provided ARLnow.com with the following statement:
The Diocese of Arlington regrets that concerns about the basketball program at Bishop O’Connell remain a source of frustration for some members of the school community.
As stated previously in 2013, Bishop O’Connell received official documentation regarding the age of former student Junior Etou, confirming his eligibility to participate in athletics during the 2012-13 academic year.
With regard to any allegations involving other students, the Diocese of Arlington cannot comment on individual disciplinary matters. As a matter of policy and practice if a school has reason to believe a student’s actions have violated the law, the proper law enforcement agency is contacted.
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Voting Now Underway — Voting is underway in the special election to fill the County Board seat vacated by Chris Zimmerman. Four candidates are on the ballot: Alan Howze, John Vihstadt, Stephen Holbrook and Janet Murphy. The polls will close tonight at 7:00 p.m. [Arlington County]
Special Olympics Championship Goes to Overtime — The Special Olympics division championship basketball game between the GMU Patriots and Arlington Blue went into overtime on Sunday. The annual tournament was held at Marymount University. [InsideNoVa]
Historical Society Lectures to Be Broadcast — The county’s Arlington TV channel will now film and broadcast Arlington Historical Society lectures. The lectures are held monthly at Arlington Central Library and feature topics of historical significance to Arlington County. [Arlington Historical Society]
Flickr photo by J. Sonder
County Relies on Tips for Snow Violations — All recent snow-removal ordinance violation notices sent out by Arlington County were sent as the result of tips from residents, not a proactive enforcement effort. [Sun Gazette]
Sewage Spill in Spout Run — Arlington residents and their pets are advised to avoid Spout Run south of Lee Highway for the next day or so due to a “minor sewage spill.” [Arlington Alert]
Yorktown Senior Is Top B-Ball Prospect — Yorktown High School senior Mikayla Venson is one of the top-ranked girls’ basketball players in Virginia. However, due to injuries she hasn’t played for the Patriots since 2011. She will be attending the University of Virginia in the fall. [Yahoo! Sports]
Historic Fraber House’s New Owners — Last year, a large oak tree fell on the Fraber House in Cherrydale, just days before the county-owned home was set to receive a local historic designation. Nonetheless, the county was able to fix up the 1913 home and sell it to a local couple. The pair, Charu and Colin McDermott, work in the building trades and are thus well-suited to help maintain the historic home. [Preservation Arlington]
Lawmakers Honor Arlington Notables — The Virginia General Assembly has passed resolutions honoring a number of notable Arlington residents and institutions. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
Wakefield Falls in Semifinals — The Wakefield High School boys basketball team lost in the 5A state tournament semifinals Saturday. Wakefield lost to Henrico 63-55, ending their season. [Sun Gazette]
Contract Loss Could Cost 165 Jobs in Arlington — Some 165 Lockheed Martin employees in Arlington are set to lose their jobs after the company lost a contract with the U.S. Army for information technology work. The contract was instead awarded to General Dynamics. [Washington Business Journal]
Construction Contract Awarded for New School — The Arlington School Board voted last week to award a $32.3 million contract for the construction of a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus. The school “is anticipated to be the first Net Zero Energy School on the East Coast,” thanks to a large solar array on the roof. With design, contingencies and “soft costs” factored in, the total cost of the school is projected at $43.8 million, down from the original $46.5 million cost estimate. [Arlington Public Schools]
W-L Falls to Yorktown in Shootout — Yorktown high school hockey club defeated Washington-Lee 3-2 in a four-round shootout Saturday night at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. It was the last game of the season for both teams.
Big Lines for Car Washes — With spring-like temperatures on Saturday came spring-like lines at local car washes. Motorists lined up to get the salt residue and winter grime washed off their cars. The line for Mr. Wash on N. Glebe Road extended all the way to Route 50 at one point. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
The Warriors (24-4) kept their 14-game winning streak alive with the victory, and will move on to the state semifinal game on Saturday at noon at Robinson Secondary School (5035 Sideburn Road, Fairfax). They’ll play the loser between Maury and Henrico High Schools, and if they win, they’ll play Friday, March 14, at 2:00 p.m. at VCU for the state championship.
The Warriors were led by Capitol Conference Player of the Year Dominique Tham, who scored 18 points, and Jalen Walton chipped in 17 to lead a balanced attack against the Panthers (27-1). Marqua Walton also scored 18 and hit a key free throw at the end of the game to seal the victory.
The win was the first regional championship for the Warriors since 2005 — they were regional runner-ups last year and lost in the state semifinal game. The Warriors defended their home court, just like they did in the conference championship game last week against Mt. Vernon. Walton told Dave Facinoli of the Sun Gazette that the Warriors didn’t feel any pressure.
“They came in undefeated and we felt they had all the pressure,” said Wakefield senior guard Jalen Carver, who scored 17 points and made three three-pointers. “So we wanted to play our game, slow them down in transition and keep playing hard.”
Wakefield coach Tony Bentley said the pre-game plan was to keep his players loose.
“The key to this game for us wasn’t on the court,” he said. “We wanted to get our players so relaxed like they were playing a game on the playground.”
File photo courtesy Rob Laybourn
Wakefield Advances to Regional Title Game — Wakefield High School’s boys basketball team defeated Broad Run last night 85-80, advancing the Warriors to the regional title game of the 5A North Region Tournament. Senior Re’Quan Hopson scored 29 points during the game. [Sun Gazette]
Police Look for Witnesses to Fatal Crash — Arlington County Police are seeking witnesses to the Feb. 24 crash that killed 39-year-old Jennifer Lawson. Lawson was struck by a dump truck on Little Falls Road after volunteering at Nottingham Elementary School. Detectives believe two vehicles were behind the truck and would like to interview the drivers. [Arlington County]
United Way Donates $260K to Arlington Nonprofits — The United Way has donated nearly $260,000 to 20 Arlington nonprofits. The list of nonprofits receiving grants includes the Arlington Pediatric Center, Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, Arlington Thrive and others. [Sun Gazette]
John Youngs Dies — John Youngs, a past president of the Arlington Bar Association and former head of the Arlington public defenders office, has died after a long battle with brain cancer. Youngs was 69. “John fought the good fight and he is now at peace,” the bar association said in an email to its members.
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
The Wakefield High School boys basketball squad defeated Mt. Vernon in the Capital Conference 13 championship game Friday night.
The Warriors were led by junior guard Marqua Walton, who had 18 points, and senior guard Jalen Carver, who had 16 points. The 65-50 victory gives Wakefield a first round bye in the upcoming 5A Regional Tournament.
The Sun Gazette has a complete recap of the game.
Photos courtesy Rob Laybourn
Wakefield Reaches Championship — The Wakefield Warriors boys basketball squad has reached the championship game of the Capitol Conference 13 tournament. The championship game will be played tonight at 8:00 p.m. [Sun Gazette]
Wounded Warrior Happy Hour — Deloitte will be hosting a happy hour to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project tonight. The fundraiser is taking place at Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill in Courthouse (2424 Wilson Blvd) through 9:00 p.m. [Clarendon Nights]
Is Artisphere Succeeding? — Artisphere “may have turned a corner,” writes Our Man in Arlington columnist Charlie Clark. The arts center got off to a “shaky start” in 2010, “but it took a step back and retooled, so the path ahead for bringing more people to Arlington is a good one,” said Karen Vasquez, Arlington’s director of cultural affairs. [Falls Church News-Press]
Yorktown Defeats W-L in Basketball — Yorktown’s boys basketball squad defeated Washington-Lee on Friday by a score of 60-52. During the game Washington-Lee senior Jonah Sens scored his 1,000th career point. [Sun Gazette]
Court Orders Yelp Critics Identified — A Virginia Appeals Court last week ruled in favor of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning in a case against the online reviews site Yelp. Under the ruling, Yelp must reveal the identities of seven negative reviewers that Hadeed believes are not actual customers. Hadeed was represented by Raighne Delaney, an attorney with the Arlington law firm of Bean, Kinney & Korman. [Washington Times]
Exhibit-Goers Might Wonder ‘Y’ — An exhibit at Artisphere by artist Alicia Eggert features “a rock sit[ting] on the keyboard of a Macbook Air laptop, typing the letter ‘Y’ into infinity.” The exhibit runs through Feb. 2. [Ode Street Tribune]
Infamy for Arlington Nonprofit’s Former Logo — A former logo of the Arlington Pediatric Center, a local nonprofit healthcare provider in South Arlington, has been named one of the “15 Worst Corporate Logo Fails” by a popular online publication. [Business Insider]
Photo courtesy Becky Barnes
The Harlem Wizards, a basketball troop in the mold of the Harlem Globetrotters, will be bringing their tricks and dunks to the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.) later this month.
The Wizards will play against the Arlington Elite, an assortment of school teachers and administrators, parks and recreation staff, police and firefighters, and other community leaders, Friday, Sept. 27 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
During halftime, kids are invited out onto the court to interact with the Wizards players. After the game, Wizards players will be available to sign autographs.
General admission tickets are $13 and $10 for students and seniors purchased in advance. At the door, tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors. Courtside reserve tickets, which include a meet-and-greet with two Wizards and a player photo, are $25. Proceeds will go to the Department of Parks and Recreation Office of Teens to support scholarships and local teen programs.
Photo courtesy of the Harlem Wizards
Wakefield Falls in State Semis — The Wakefield Warriors basketball team lost to John Marshall in the semifinal round of the state AAA tournament last night in Richmond. Wakefield fell 66-46, finishing the season with a 25-6 record. [Washington Post]
Lawmakers Name Biggest 2013 Achievement — Asked to name their biggest achievement in this past legislative session, the state lawmakers who represent Arlington cited an expansion of Medicaid, the new transportation funding plan, and affordable housing funding. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Students Win at Science Fair — Two Arlington high school students won the “Best in Fair Grand Prize” at the Northern Virginia Regional Science and Engineering Fair over the weekend. They will now go on to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair in May. [Arlington Public Schools]
Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore
‘Mussel Bar’ to Open in Ballston — Mussel Bar & Grille, from restauranteur Robert Wiedmaier, is set to open at 800 N. Glebe Road in Ballston this summer. The small gastropub chain has existing locations in Bethesda and Atlantic City. Wiedmaier is also known for BRABO in Old Town Alexandria and Marcel’s and Brasserie Beck in D.C. [Washington City Paper]
Deputy County Manager to Retire — Deputy County Manager Marsha Allgeier is planning to retire, and the county is now searching for her successor. Allgeier has worked for Arlington County since 1998. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Mom Survives Flesh-Eating Bacteria — An Arlington mom has survived a case of necrotizing fasciitis, the flesh-eating bacteria. Erin Smythers, a mother of three, developed the infection after getting a small cut on her finger. [WJLA]
Wakefield in State Semis Tonight — The Wakefield Warriors boys basketball team will face John Marshall in the state semifinals tonight. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:45 p.m. at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Update at 2:00 p.m.: The video will be streamed live online, via the Wakefield High School website. [Northern Va. Sports]
Flickr pool photo by Sunday Money
Wakefield, O’Connell Advance in Tournaments — In high school basketball news, last night the Wakefield Warriors defeated Mountain View 83-76 to advance to the state semifinals, to be played Monday night. Earlier this week the Bishop O’Connell Knights defeated St. John’s 58-53 to capture the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament championship. After a quarterfinal victory, DJO will now play in the Virginia Independent School Athletic Association Division I tournament semifinals tonight. [Washington Post, Sun Gazette]
Parents Upset With School Boundary Changes — At a meeting Wednesday night, numerous parents expressed displeasure with Arlington Public Schools’ proposed elementary boundary changes. The changes are necessary due to overcrowding and the upcoming addition of a new elementary school. [Patch]
County Event to Highlight Intellectual Disabilities — On Tuesday morning, Arlington County will hold an “awards program and proclamation ceremony establishing Including People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Month as March 2013” The county says it “is committed to empowering and supporting persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve healthy self-determined lifestyles through community-based education, living arrangements, employment, and other individualized support services.” [Arlington County]
Metro Seeks Input on Pershing-Rt 50 Bus Service — Metro will be holding two public meetings in Arlington next week to discuss potential improvements to the Metrobus 4A, B, E and H lines, also known as the Pershing Drive-Arlington Blvd line. [WMATA]
The Wakefield Warriors boys basketball team will advance to the Virginia AAA tournament, despite a heart-breaking loss in the Northern Region finals.
By making it to the regional finals, the Warriors received a berth in the Virginia High School League state tournament. Wakefield will now face Mountain View at the Siegel Center in Richmond at 5:30 p.m. this coming Thursday, Feb. 28, according to the Wakefield High School Athletics Facebook page.
Wakefield isn’t the only Arlington high school making a tournament run. Bishop O’Connell defeated Paul VI on Sunday to advance to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference finals. DJO will face St. John’s at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday at American University’s Bender Arena.
Photos courtesy Rob Laybourn
A video was released on YouTube today showing the team and their fans doing the Harlem Shake, which has become an internet sensation.
“What REALLY happens in the locker room after the Wakefield High School Warriors win a big game!” says the video’s description.
Wakefield, which defeated Langley on Tuesday with a buzzer beater that was caught on video, will face Robinson tonight in the Virginia AAA Northern Region tournament semifinals. The game is scheduled to take place at Robinson at 8:00 p.m.