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RBA
10-13-2006, 08:42 AM
Coach jailed for beaning autistic player
Thu Oct 12, 4:59 PM ET


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.


test, test

Ltlabner
10-13-2006, 08:46 AM
If this is true....

Sickening. Just plain sickening.

dabvu2498
10-13-2006, 09:07 AM
Good. I hear they play games with balls in the joint. Enjoy those, coach.

GAC
10-13-2006, 09:23 AM
I've been following this story since I help coach little league. If there is one thing I can't stand is coaches (and parents) who are so competitive and winning is all that matters (and we all want to win), that they do so to the detriment of the kids.

When I see a kid who appears to not be very good (athletic), maybe has some self confidence issues.... then those are the kids I really pay special attention to. I adopt them, and they become like my child. They need that little "extra" as compared to those kids who know the game and have less difficulty. And I make sure that his teammates understand and support him too.

My son Samuel was one such kid. And I was so glad to be apart of a team where the coaches and the parents gathered around my son, encouraged him and rooted him on. And when he got that first hit it, which took him until the midway point in the season, it was like when Rose got #1492, everyone celebrated.

In fact, my son almost got thrown out from not paying attention, jumping up and down on 1B just simply overjoyed.

That is what it's all about folks. ;)

dman
10-13-2006, 09:24 AM
Good. I hear they play games with balls in the joint. Enjoy those, coach.

:bowrofl: :bowrofl: :bowrofl: :bowrofl: :bowrofl:

RedFanAlways1966
10-13-2006, 03:38 PM
That is what it's all about folks. ;)

Absolutely, GAC... absolutely. :)

I umpired one summer while in college. Like most of you I knew the rulebook backwards and forwards... even took pride in always getting the "So You Think You Know Baseball" quiz (always a rules question) correct in Baseball Digest. Had read and re-read Rich Marazzi's "The Rules and Lore of Baseball" book which explains each rule in the book and gives real life examples of each one. I was a real rules freak. Of course knowing the rules does not mean you will call a good strikezone or call guys safe or out correctly, but the other umps all complimented me on both facets.

The kids were not bad at all. A few smart-mouths, but nothing that bad. A lot of the parents made it a horrible experience and made it my only year of umpiring. Some of them were absolute idiots. It made me wonder how their kids could ever act like mature adults someday when it seemed obvious that their parents were lunatics! I had one guy tell me that I was clueless on the rules of the game. To that I asked him if he could tell me the infield fly rule... he tried, but was the clueless one (at least in regard to that rule). I had a couple of parents at different times follow me to my car after the game and scream at me b/c I had the nerve to call their son out on a called third strike. I was never flamboyant and never tried to embarrass any kid... but it still did not matter. The majority of parents were good, but I'd say about 10% of them in that LL were idiots. The kids were from 8 to 12 years old. It makes me realize that the above story is sad, but not shocking to this one-time LL ump. I also heard some parents using language and ridiculous attitudes towards kids on the opposing teams.

I am glad this nut-job got prison time. Well deserved. I hope others will learn from it, but I am sure we will read more stories like this one in the future.

Danny Serafini
10-13-2006, 03:48 PM
Anything more than about 3 days in jail is a complete waste of resources. Prisons are already overcrowded as it is, I'd rather have those spots used for actual criminals - you know, murderers, robbers, rapists, etc. - as opposed to just knuckleheads. This isn't to condone what the guy did, he's a slimeball and should be punished. Give him a whole bunch of community service, something that's actually useful, and ban him from coaching kid's sports in the future. But tossing him in jail is just overkill.

Johnny Footstool
10-13-2006, 04:03 PM
Anything more than about 3 days in jail is a complete waste of resources. Prisons are already overcrowded as it is, I'd rather have those spots used for actual criminals - you know, murderers, robbers, rapists, etc. - as opposed to just knuckleheads. This isn't to condone what the guy did, he's a slimeball and should be punished. Give him a whole bunch of community service, something that's actually useful, and ban him from coaching kid's sports in the future. But tossing him in jail is just overkill.

I think it's more like a "zero tolerance" policy and this jackass is being punished to try and deter other jackasses from doing similar things. I've got no problem with him spending time in jail if it sends a message to other parents.

registerthis
10-13-2006, 04:05 PM
And when he got that first hit it, which took him until the midway point in the season, it was like when Rose got #1492, everyone celebrated.

Boy, who doesn't remember what they were doing when Rose got hit # 1,492. ;)

registerthis
10-13-2006, 04:07 PM
I think it's more like a "zero tolerance" policy and this jackass is being punished to try and deter other jackasses from doing similar things. I've got no problem with him spending time in jail if it sends a message to other parents.

Yes, abuse of coaches/players/umpires by parents and other coaches is a serious issue in youth sports, something should be done to attempt to curtail it.

Danny Serafini
10-13-2006, 04:11 PM
I think it's more like a "zero tolerance" policy and this jackass is being punished to try and deter other jackasses from doing similar things. I've got no problem with him spending time in jail if it sends a message to other parents.

From that standpoint I can definitely see it, though I think you could accomplish the same thing without such a lenghty sentence. Going to jail at all should provide enough shock value, you would hope.

dabvu2498
10-13-2006, 04:17 PM
Behavior such as this is indicative of the behavior of a anti-social person, possibly a sociopath. I know it may sound like I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. Anyone who would pay a child to purposefully injure another child needs to be "away" for a while... not a couple days.

Like I told someone before in a PM, I've represented all manner of human filth in courtrooms, but I'd have a hard time "doing my job" with a dude like this.