Police: T-Ball Coach Offered Player $25 To Injure Boy
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 15, 2005
NORTH UNION TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA--A youth T-ball coach was charged Friday with allegedly offering to pay $25 to a 7-year-old player to injure an 8-year-old that has autism so the older boy wouldn't be able to play.
Police said Mark Reed Downs Jr. was charged with two counts of criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault, corruption of minors, criminal conspiracy to commit simple assault, and reckless endangerment. He is scheduled for a July 28 preliminary hearing.
The unnamed 7-year-old told police that Downs pulled him aside just before a June 27 game and said he would pay the boy to hit the 8-year-old in the face with a baseball. According to the criminal complaint, the younger boy told police the coach said he didn't want the older boy to play "because he wanted to win."
During pre-game warm-ups, the younger boy hit the other on the left ear and the groin area with a ball. Downs later told the boy with autism to "take the night off."
Police said the younger boy would not face charges.
The youth baseball league told the Associated Press that Downs would be banned from coaching next year if it is found that he committed a crime.
"Coach charged with intentionally injuring autistic player" (Herald Standard)