T-Ball Coach Assaults Opposing Coach


In another example of “what not to do” for children, a South Bend, Indiana T-ball coach recently physically assaulted the opposing coach. According to the online article, the umpire was able to keep the two coaches apart during the early evenings when the verbal sparring started. At some point later in the game, the one coach chose to charge his competitor, knocked him to the ground, and nbsp;punched him. Photos showed that the victim suffered some injuries on his face.

Pennsylvania Assault Charges

In a case like this, the coach that threw punches would be charged with a misdemeanor offense of Simple Assault, in violation of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2701. Generally speaking, this charge requires that the attacker either caused or attempted to cause a “bodily injury.” Here, it appears that the victim suffered  some injuries on his face, and a prosecutor could readily argue that the attacker’s intent to cause bodily injury was clear based upon the throwing of punches to the victim’s face. The attacker could also be charged with lesser, summary offenses like Harassment and Disorderly Conduct.

Should Sentence Be Increased Because of Presence of Children?

A person that is convicted of or pleads guilty to Simple Assault and has no prior criminal record score faces a recommended minimum sentence of probation up to one month incarceration. This means that a sentencing judge has discretion to impose a sentence of probation, meaning no jail time, but the judge could also impose up to 30 days of jail time if the judge was so inclined. In determining the appropriate sentence, the judge can consider a variety of factors, including the severity of the injuries, the opinion or recommendation of the victim, the rehabilitation needs of the defendant, and the deterrent effect of a sentence.

Obviously, this was not a typical State College assault case involving drunk Penn State students outside of a bar. Instead, the assault in this case occurred in front of T-ball playing, young children, and I believe that a judge may consider imposing a sentence of incarceration because of the impact on the children. While the coach should be applauded for volunteering his time and giving back to children, he also is supposed to instill positive moral attributes and act as a role model. Here, instead of doing the right thing, the coach created a traumatic scene and caused the children to cry. The children should have memories of running the bases, spending time with friends, and eating ice cream after the game, not memories of a coach physically attacking another person. The coach’s actions may also have a chilling effect on the willingness of other people to volunteer their time. Potential coaches or assistants may question why they should volunteer when their efforts may result in them being assaulted. Because of these extenuating factors, I believe a judge may consider imposing a slightly more severe sentence in this case.