Sophomore alleges non-consensual recording, distribution of sex video by football player

Radian Hong, Editor-in-Training

On May 3, Rocklin High School (RHS) sophomore Ava Messina and her family spoke at an RUSD board meeting. They alleged that she was recorded without her consent while engaging in a sexual act with a male student.

The family further alleged that the student distributed the video to other students across Placer County, including players coached by Messina’s father at Oakmont High School, and that school authorities have failed to adequately address the situation. The school declined to release the disciplinary outcomes of investigations related to this incident, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

The student in question maintained a gallery of photos and videos of sexual nature which involved over 50 different girls, according to Messina. “I am not the only girl he has filmed, but I am the only one willing to speak up.” she said. “I will not be silenced.”

The incident occurred in November of 2022, and according to a letter sent out to families on May 10, school officials were first made aware of it on January 25. The school stated it began its investigation that same day while notifying the school resource officer. The student’s phone has been confiscated by the Rocklin Police Department on a search warrant, according to Messina’s mother, and the case has been sent to the Placer County District Attorney.

On May 10, more than one hundred RHS students and parents held a demonstration outside the school in support of Messina and other alleged victims of sexual misconduct and bullying on campus. Protestors called for parents to “educate [their] sons” and demanded greater accountability from school officials.

The family of the male student denied the majority of these allegations at another board meeting held on May 17. The male student’s father alleged that Messina had asked the male student to take a photo of the sexual act and had shared it in a group chat without the male student’s consent. The student’s father denied the existence of the video and the gallery of videos described by Messina at the previous meeting.

Messina said that she has been shamed for reporting the incident by girls involved in “similar situations” who “questioned why [she] didn’t let it go.” According to Messina, teenage girls often perform sexual acts for popular boys to maintain their social status.

Since she reported the incident, Messina has experienced harassment both inside and outside of school. “Every day since I spoke up, I have felt silenced at my school,” she said. Messina claimed that friends of the student had started false rumors about her “in order to try and gain vengeance.”

Additionally, Messina’s home was vandalized twice by RHS students since the incident. The first time, the Messinas’ house was vandalized with toilet paper. According to the male student’s father, his son had no knowledge of this incident until two days after it transpired, having been away at a football camp. On a separate occasion, the Messinas’ had their lawn vandalized with forks. The student’s father claimed he offered to pay for video surveillance for the Messinas’ home to help catch future vandals after this incident.

Messina claimed that the school’s investigation of these incidents yielded unsatisfactory results. Another football player allegedly threatened to sexually assault Messina and faced no suspension. Other students have allegedly thrown garbage at her during lunch.

“For months, I have felt powerless and as if I had spoken up for nothing,” said Messina, blaming the school’s failure to act on the student being a starting quarterback on RHS’s football team with four Division I offers. “I am bullied and re-victimized daily,” she said, “and my school is not protecting me.”

The male student’s father suggested that authorities have not yet resolved the issue because it is more complex than the Messina family made it out to be. “Is it OK to publicly shame this boy and his family without all the facts?” he said. The student’s mother claimed that her son voluntarily gave up his smartphone and password in January before a search warrant had been issued. According to her, his phone was scrubbed by police and no sexual videos with him involved were found. However, she said a video of a sexual act between Messina and another boy may have been found on her son’s device. She speculated that this may have been the video shared with players on Oakmont’s football team.

Since the incident, Messina has suffered from new levels of anxiety and depression, having increased her dosage of antidepressants. She went from having a 4.0 GPA to failing three classes as of May 3. She is considering transferring to a different school once the semester ends.

Messina’s mother said that she has yet to receive a phone call from the principal, superintendent, or assistant principal regarding the matter. With 20 days left in the school year and no resolution in sight, she felt she had no choice but to find a place to which to transfer her daughter. Messina said, “I am being pressured out of my school while he is revered as the next star quarterback.”