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Coach jailed for beaning autistic player

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    UNIONTOWN, Pa. - 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.
  2. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member


    The news is just zinging it in and hitting home the last couple of days..

    My mother was a Social Worker. Her last job, she worked with autistic children at a clinic in South Carolina that did intake for the Coastal Center nearby , a live in facility, when the parents could no longer handle children in the home.

    She made my sister and I go on weekends when we were teens , to try and stop us from being self centered teenagers.
    We spent a lot of time with Downs Syndrome kids and also with the autistic children.
    We gave the first dog to the lodge where the autistic kids were and were able to see , first hand, some of them relate to another living creature for the first time.

    These were children with Severe Autism.

    We also had occasion to interact with some that had low level autism.

    And just like the way too thin model...This just makes me sick....

    :( and sad. So very sad...

    Some days I don't like people very much.
  3. TailorMadeHell

    TailorMadeHell Lurking Shadow Creature

    Sounds like this punk needs to learn some lessons. And after his jail term, he should never be allowed to coach anything ever. Just another reason of why I don't like people. 'I didn't do nothing.' Well that's a confession if I ever saw one. I did not do nothing, therefore I did something.

    Maybe he'll enjoy getting 'beaned' in the crossbar motel by his new 'team'. And if he doesn't know the correct way to hold a 'bat' I'm sure he's going to learn real good. :D
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