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Judge orders deposition in Mater Dei hazing case to proceed

An Orange County Superior Court judge has ordered former Mater Dei High School athletic director Amanda Waters to be deposed in the next 30 days in a case that has attracted national attention and raised serious questions about the culture within the country’s top-ranked prep football program.

Judge Craig L Griffin rejected six of eight motions filed by attorneys for Mater Dei and the Diocese of Orange on Jan. 27 to quash the deposition of Waters, who will be the first person deposed in a case where the family of a former Mater Dei football player is suing the school and diocese after an alleged hazing incident in February 2021.

The motions to quash were filed just hours before Waters was scheduled to be deposed on Jan. 28. Attorneys for the alleged victim filed an opposition to the motion Monday, alleging that Mater Dei “through its lawyer” is waging a “campaign designed to prevent Ms. Waters from testifying at all costs.”

In his ruling, Griffin wrote: “The court orders the deposition of Amanda Waters to proceed on a date mutually convenient for the witness and parties within 30 days from the date of the hearing.”

Waters has been considered a key witness in the lawsuit filed by the family of a former Mater Dei football player in Orange County Superior Court on Nov. 23. The suit alleges negligence, negligence per se-hazing in violation of the California penal code, negligent failure to warn, train or educate, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

During an incident on Feb. 4, 2021, in two Mater Dei locker rooms, a current Monarchs football player punched a teammate, 50 pounds lighter than him, three times in the face during an alleged hazing ritual called “Bodies” while some Monarchs players who were present shouted racial epithets at the smaller player, according to two videos of the altercation obtained by the Orange County Register.

The fight left the smaller player with a traumatic brain injury, two gashes over his right eye, one over his left and a broken nose that required surgery, according to surgeon’s reports and other medical records. The injuries were the results of a series of blows to the head that would prompt a Santa Ana Police Department investigator to recommend the Orange County District Attorney’s juvenile division file felony battery charges against the other player, according to a police report obtained by the Register.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges in the case.

Waters resigned her Mater Dei post on March 24, 2021, just nine months after she took the job amid much fanfare. She is currently the athletic director at St. Andrew’s School, an independent college preparatory school in Savannah, Georgia.

Waters was scheduled to be the first person deposed in the lawsuit filed by the former player’s family.

Attorneys for Mater Dei and the diocese asserted that they represented Waters in a series of emails obtained by the Register.

Waters, in an email to the Register last month, confirmed she was not represented by the firm and reiterated her willingness to testify in the case.

“She does not represent me, and yes, I was available,” Waters said referring to Maria Roberts, an attorney representing Mater Dei and the diocese. “I told both sides I am available whenever they want me.”

Waters declined to say whether her resignation at Mater Dei in March was related to the alleged hazing incident a month earlier.

“I cannot comment on the last question,” she said. “Hope you understand.”

Source: Orange County Register

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