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Utah County football coach will not be charged with felony

Published October 16, 2012 1:04 pm

Assault • Man could still be charged with misdemeanor.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A little league football coach accused of assaulting a 13-year-old player during a game in Payson will not be charged with a felony, the Utah County Attorney's Office confirmed Tuesday.

Payson Police arrested the man on suspicion of second-degree felony child abuse, but Utah Deputy County Attorney Ryan Peters said his office declined to prosecute the case as a felony after looking at the boy's injuries.

"We determined that the injuries he sustained did not amount to severe physical injury as it is defined [in the child abuse statute,]" Peters said.

In general, Utah state law defines "serious physical injury" under the child abuse statute as any injury that seriously impair health, involves torture, causes serious emotional harm or involves a substantial risk of death. Other injuries that count as serious are broken bones, internal head injuries, burns or injuries from a weapon.

Peters said that his office looked at the boy's complete medical record before making the decision not to pursue felony charges late last week. He added that the case has been handed over to the Payson City Attorney's Office for potential misdemeanor charges against the coach.

Payson City Attorney Mark Sorenson did not return a request for comment as of late Tuesday morning.

Peters did not say what the boy's specific injuries were, but jail documents released last week state the boy was diagnosed with a concussion. Payson police Sgt. Lance Smith also said last week that doctors told the boy to abstain from physical activity for 30 days, restricting him from post-season play for his team.

The 38-year-old Mapleton man was acting as assistant coach during his son's Maple Mountaineers game Oct. 6 against the Payson team. The two teams were tied when a Payson running back began moving the ball to the end zone for what would have been a tie-breaking touchdown. As the boy ran close against the field's boundary line, the man allegedly stepped into the boy's path and raised his forearms, hitting the boy under the chin.

kbennion@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kimballbennion —

View Ch. 2's original report, with raw video

KUTV Ch. 2's Oct. 10 report on the little league football assistant coach includes video of the Oct. 6 incident in Payson. http://bit.ly/R37rmB