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This story makes me sick

Not that the man was found guilty and sentenced to prison.  What he's going to prison for.  And the fact that he doesn't think it was wrong.

The story was posted on sportsillustrated.cnn.com on October 12th.

UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- A youth baseball coach accused of offering an 8-year-old money to bean an autistic teammate so he couldn't play was sentenced Thursday to one to six years in prison.

Fayette County Judge Ralph Warman sentenced 29-year-old Mark R. Downs Jr. of Dunbar, Pa. to consecutive six-to-36-month sentences for corruption of minors and criminal solicitation to commit simple assault. A jury convicted Downs in September.

Warman revoked Downs' bond and sent him to prison.

Downs didn't speak at the sentencing but told reporters "I didn't do nothing" as he was led out of the courtroom.

His attorney, Thomas Shaffer, said Downs was upset and looked forward to appealing the verdict. Downs was ordered Thursday to undergo a mental health evaluation and barred from coaching any youth league sport while on parole.

Authorities said Downs offered to pay one of his players $25 to hit Harry Bowers, a mildly autistic teammate, with a ball while warming up before a June 2005 playoff game. Prosecutors said Downs wanted the 9-year-old out of the game, because the boy didn't play as well as his teammates.

Player Keith Reese Jr. said he purposely threw a ball that hit Bowers in the groin and another that hit Bowers in the ear, on Downs' instructions. Downs denied offering to pay Reese to hurt Bowers.

"These acts are extremely outrageous and extremely reprehensible since the defendant was involved in the coaching of a youth league," Warman said.

Bowers' mother, Jennifer Bowers, said Thursday that since her son was hit, she has struggled to get him to try new activities. She said the boy fears that he would get hurt again.

Downs was acquitted on a more serious charge of criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault. Jurors deadlocked on a charge of reckless endangerment. The judge declared a mistrial on the endangerment charge, and prosecutors said they wouldn't retry him.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 13th, 2006 01:42 pm (UTC)
That's disgusting.
Oct. 13th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
The child who was assaulted was lucky that anyone who cared found out. Often kids in that position become silent victims. :(
Oct. 15th, 2006 08:58 pm (UTC)
Oh. My God. Not only does this show how people are too obsessed with winning and not enough with participation (eight year olds, EIGHT YEAR OLDS!!!), but that people are still uncomfortable with difference. YARGH! What completely kills me is that the jury deadlocked on reckless endangerment (not only is that one just COMPLETELY obvious, but what about setting social precedent? don't like someone, they're not advancing your means, whack 'em a few times on the head) but that they WON'T RETRY for those charges. -_- What the hell is 'simple assault'? Argh. At least he is going to prison. He'll have a long time to think about why it's wrong. Unfortunately, that likely won't help. *sigh* Ok, I will stop getting depressed over this...
Oct. 16th, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC)
You can guess why I found this especially upsetting, and also why I debated about posting it.
Oct. 16th, 2006 04:01 pm (UTC)
Merg, now that I think about it, I make the link. Still, deserves to be posted. :-(
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )