T-Ball Coach To Stand Trial For Telling Player To Injure Teammate

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express (subscribe)

UNIONTOWN, PA--A youth T-ball coach charged with offering to pay a player $25 to injure a teammate who has autism will stand trial after refusing a plea agreement.

Mark Reed Downs Jr., 27, was charged last summer with two counts of criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault, corruption of minors, criminal conspiracy to commit simple assault, and reckless endangerment.

According to the Associated Press, 7-year-old Keith Reese told police that Downs pulled him aside just before a June 27 playoff game and said he would pay him $25 to hit 9-year-old Harry Bowers Jr. in the face so he wouldn't be able to play. Reese then hit Bowers on the left ear and in the groin.

Downs later told Bowers, who has intellectual disabilities, to "take the night off".

Downs refused to a plea agreement last Thursday, saying that he has done nothing wrong, and that a joking remark he made about paying players to hit an umpire with a ball was misinterpreted.

He is scheduled to stand trial in May.

The youth baseball league has said that Downs would be banned from coaching next year if it is found that he committed a crime.

The boy who threw the ball is not facing charges.

Related: Editorial: One Truth (Beaver County Times Allegheny Times)

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January 13, 2006 - InclusionDailyNews Department | Email this story


Comments (newest comments at bottom)

What was this man doing coaching children? A coach should not be driven by winning games but by helping his team members grow. He should have been a role-model. Disgusting behavior on his part.

Posted by: Gimpy Mumpy on January 16, 2006 02:38 PM

My 5 year old is a very high functioning autistic boy who is just starting t ball in a league and because of this ignorant idiot, I fear for my son and others who just want to play with the other kids and should be treated fairly by all! This "coach" should never ever coach anything and shouldn't be allowed to have children. He is a waste of skin and personally, I'd like to meet him one day face to face!!!!

Posted by: Stacy on March 30, 2006 08:40 AM

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