‘I will not be silenced’: California high school softball player alleges football player shared sex video
A Rocklin High School varsity softball player alleged in a Rocklin Unified School Board meeting Wednesday night that a junior varsity football player at her school recorded a consensual sex act with her and shared the video through social media and direct messages.
The softball player, graduates from the Placer County high school and some of their parents told the board that the football team has engaged in bullying and harassment, and expressed concern that the school and district hasn’t done enough to stop the behavior.
In a packed room, Ava Messina, still wearing her uniform from an afternoon game, introduced herself to the board with her first and last name and told them her story. Ava and her parents consented to the use of her name in this story. The Bee does not typically use the names of minors involved in harassment.
The family addressed the board during an open-comment period two hours into the regularly scheduled meeting.
Ava Messina emotionally detailed that in November a fellow student had recorded and distributed the sex act, without her consent. She said she has been victim-shamed, resulting in mental anguish. She said she is failing three classes after being a 4.0-GPA student.
“I took part in a sexual act with a fellow sophomore at Rocklin,” Messina told the board in a meeting that was that was streamed online and is posted on the district’s website.
“During this act, I was filmed without my knowledge. He further victimized me by distributing (it) to teenagers throughout the county,” she said. “I am not the only girl he has filmed but I am the only one willing to speak up. I firsthand saw this boy’s collection of video and photos of 50 different (teenage) girls. I came here to speak about my experiences. In months, I went from being a well-respected, high-achieving student athlete to a student that is categorized as a school slut. I live in anger due to the lack of justice. I will not be silenced.”
Messina said she will likely transfer to another school for a fresh start but will try to finish this academic year.
How has the incident been handled?
The football player’s phone was confiscated by the Rocklin High School resource officer and turned over to the Placer County District Attorney’s Office as part of its investigation, according to Jake Messina, Ava’s father. The Rocklin football player is a minor.
The Messina family said the district has been too slow to respond. The Placer County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the allegations.
Ava Messina and her parents said they have faced a barrage of in-person and social media attacks, including having her house vandalized twice. The first incident included toilet papering of the home. Rocklin football players admitted guilt in that incident and cleaned up the mess, according to Messina’s parents.
The bullying allegations caught the eye of lawyer Gloria Allred, a decades-long advocate for women’s rights. Allred reached out to the Messina family and scheduled a Zoom meeting on Thursday night, according to the Messina family.
Rocklin High principal Davis Stewart wrote in an email to The Bee, “As with any disciplinary or investigatory situations, we are limited with what we can and cannot share.”
Football coach Jason Adams could not be reached for comment. The Rocklin Unified School District has mandated that no one speak about the matter, Stewart said.
School district response
District spokesman Sundeep S. Dosanjh emailed The Bee with a statement. It said:
“The Rocklin Unified School District is committed to providing a safe and welcoming educational environment every day for all students, families and staff. During the May 3, 2023 Board Meeting, comments were made regarding allegations involving student safety between peers and also raising questions about the response from staff. While the school district cannot comment on personnel matters, student discipline matters or open investigations, Rocklin Unified takes these allegations seriously. Some of the incidents were brought to the district’s attention earlier this school year and have either been investigated or are currently being investigated.”
The statement concluded: “The conduct of all students – including athletes – is equal when on campus or at school-sanctioned activities. Rocklin Unified is currently reviewing policies and athlete codes of conduct and will be partnering with outside agencies to identify best practices and have education and training protocols in place so all athletes and students can feel safe and respected across all schools and while attending school events.”
The Messina family does not agree with the conduct being “equal,” nor that the district is taking the allegations seriously enough.
Valerie Chapman, Ava’s mother, said in the meeting that Rocklin High “has failed my child” and that this ordeal “exhausts me every day.” She said that she has considered pulling her daughter out of school. She told the board that her daughter often hides out in the campus library at lunch to avoid having “garbage thrown at her ‘‘ by members of the football team.
Ava’s father, Jake Messina, is the head varsity football coach at Oakmont High School, and he told The Bee on Wednesday that he is “outraged” and “infuriated,” mostly with the adults at Rocklin — coaches and administrators. He said they have not done enough to protect his daughter.
He said his daughter has not received an apology from the football player. Messina said the player sent the video in question to members of his own football team at Oakmont.
He added that by going public at the meeting and speaking with The Bee has resulted in more fallout.
“I lost a lot of football friends today,” Jake Messina said, adding that he has spoken to Adams, the Rocklin coach, several times about this incident. “I know some of the coaches at Rocklin. I coached there for a season. There’s never even been an apology (from the football player). I’ve done everything I can to keep cool through all of this because that’s how furious I am. When does it end and where does it end?”