By Stacy Millberg - Star Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio (MCT)
A Lakeside High School coach has been questioned by authorities following a bullying incident.
Varsity Wrestling Coach Jerry Brady has been placed on paid administrative leave after a 16-year-old male student was severely beaten by a 17-year-old member of the wrestling team. Brady allegedly witnessed the assault, but did nothing to stop it, according to an Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department report.
The Sheriff’s Department reported the incident took place following a junior high wrestling match Jan. 21.
The victim was reportedly beaten in the face and head multiple times over a gym bag. Reports show the teen was beaten so badly he had to be taken to the Ashtabula County Medical Center for treatment.
The victim reportedly told Deputy Scott Slocum, the school’s resource office, he was on the wrestling team last year and was given a gym bag that said “Lakeside Wrestling.”
He told Slocum he was allowed to keep the bag even though he is no longer on the team.
After attending the junior high wrestling match, the victim reportedly walked outside with a friend to call a cab because of the cold, when four students approached them. One of the students said something to him about being in possession of a wrestling bag.
The victim told Slocum he saw Brady in the area when he told the wrestler he couldn’t have the bag. The wrestler tried to pull it away, so the victim punched the wrestler once in the face, according to the Sheriff’s report.
The victim said the wrestler then began punching him multiple times in the face and head. He said he tried to get away, but he kept chasing him, punching him the whole time, according to the report.
The victim told Slocum he heard someone yell “stop” and then heard Brady say something like “keep going, no, no.”
The Sheriff’s report stated the victim told Slocum the wrestler stopped and again tried to take the bag, and he heard Brady say, “leave it, I don’t want it.”
Brady and the four students then reportedly got into the Brady’s truck and drove off, leaving the victim on the ground.
When Slocum asked the victim how close Brady was when the incident started, he said about two to three feet behind him, according to the report. Slocum asked the victim if Brady attempted to stop the fight at any time and his response was “no.”
Two students that were with the wrestler also were questioned as to what took place, as was the student that was with the victim.
All three students reportedly gave similar accounts of what transpired. Two of the students reportedly told Slocum a referee yelled out for the wrestler to stop, but the coach reportedly said to keep going because the victim threw the first punch, according to the report.
Slocum asked if Brady tried to stop the fight at any time and both said no, according to the report.
One of the students interviewed said Brady yelled for the wrestler to stop and pulled him off of the victim; however, when Slocum viewed the video surveillance, Brady is seen walking toward them, but did not pull the wrestler off of the victim, according to the report.
Slocum also reportedly obtained the name of the referee and contacted him regarding the incident. He told Slocum he yelled for the wrestler to stop, but Brady stated to him, “let ‘em go.”
When Slocum questioned the wrestler, he said he admitted to punching the victim in the face and head about 25 to 30 times before stopping.
He was arrested on a charge of attempted robbery and transported to Ashtabula County Youth Detention Center.
Slocum reportedly met with Brady, the school principal, and the athletic director Jan. 24. Brady turned in his keys before Slocum entered the conference room reportedly stating “he knew his coaching job was finished because of the incident on Jan. 21,” according to the Sheriff’s report.
The Sheriff’s report stated Brady told Slocum after the wrestling match the wrestler noticed the victim was carrying a wrestling gym bag. Brady told him to leave it alone. He told Slocum he told the wrestler “let’s go, enough,” after the victim threw the first punch.”
Brady told Slocum it looked as if the wrestler was going to walk away, but then he turned and began punching the victim. When the referee came out, Brady reportedly told Slocum he told the referee, “no, I will handle this.”
Brady reportedly told Slocum he didn’t want to get between the fight because he had an injured shoulder. He also stated he felt the victim was OK after the fight because he got up and was looking for his bag, according to the Sheriff’s report.
Brady’s father, Jim Brady, reportedly called 911, according to the report.
Slocum wrote in his report, upon viewing video surveillance footage, “(the wrestler) viscously attacked (the victim), forcing him back into a tree. (The victim) did not fall, but continued back 8 to 10 yards before falling to the ground. (The wrestler) continued to punch (the victim) and Brady could be seen walking toward them, but (the wrestler) stopped before Brady arrived. They all began walking away, leaving (the victim) on the ground.”
Ashtabula Area City Schools Superintendent Patrick Colucci said the incident is under investigation.
Athletic Director Greg Zannelli is working on determining who will take over for Brady while he is on leave. Colucci said it will most likely be the varsity assistant coach, Jim Brady, who is Jerry Brady’s brother.
The case has been referred to Ashtabula City Solicitor Michael Franklin’s office. Franklin said the case has been turned over to Assistant City Solicitor Lori Lamer because of a conflict of interest. Lamer was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
Franklin said his wife is a consultant for the Ashtabula Area City School District.
©2014 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio)
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