WILMINGTON -- A Pop Warner football coach who allegedly punched a parent hard enough to cause severe facial injuries after a verbal spat during a practice last week will face aggravated assault and battery charges next month, authorities said today.
Victim Michael D. VonKahle
Police filed charges today in Woburn District Court against William D. Reynolds, the same day his alleged victim, Michael D. VonKahle, spent several hours at Massachusetts General Hospital undergoing evaluation and treatment for his injuries, including a fractured eye socket, broken nose, and torn rotator cuff on his shoulder.
Reynolds has been suspended from the league in connection with the Friday incident, and further action against him, including the possibility of being banned from coaching in the league, will be taken up in a Pop Warner board meeting in the off-season, officials said. His former team, in the "C" category, was led by assistant coaches in a game on Sunday. Reynolds had coached in the league for at least three consecutive years before taking off several seasons and returning to coaching this year.
Both men accuse the other of being the aggressor, of throwing the first punch after they walked side-by-side from the practice field to a nearby secluded area to resolve their dispute, which started at 5:37 p.m, when VonKahle brought his son late to practice, a police report indicates.
Reynolds told the 12-year-old boy to run laps as a consequence. In his statement to police, VonKahle, 48, said he responded to Reynolds by saying, "If anybody needs to run laps, it should be you, you fat [expletive]."
VonKahle said he made his remarks in a joking manner, but Reynolds, in his statement to police, said the parent continually taunted him. About three minutes later, as VonKahle sat in the bleachers with several other adults, Reynolds approached and asked if they could talk.
Reynolds said he told VonKahle, "if there is a problem and you want to talk let's go somewhere not in front of the kids." The two men walked towards a nearby wooded area. That's where, according to VonKahle, Reynolds immediately tossed off his jacket and threw a punch at him, hitting him in the face.
But according to Reynolds, VonKahle threw his own jacket around Reynolds' head and began punching him on the side of the head. Reynolds said he took the jacket off his head and returned punches, and after a brief slew of blows, said to VonKahle, "We had enough?" VonKahle responded "Yeah," according to Reynolds.
Reynolds said he got up and walked back to the practice field. "I consider my actions to be a result of his aggressive actions towards me,'' Reynolds said in a statement to police.
VonKahle later went to the police station to file a report, and today, appeared briefly at Woburn District Court with the intent of filing an application for a criminal complaint against Reynolds. VonKahle didn't file a complaint, but hours later, police did, and the court clerk then issued a summons for the arraignment, scheduled for Nov. 17.
Outside the courthouse today, VonKahle told Channel 7 News, "I didn't think I was gonna take a beating for saying something. That was my mistake. Yeah, I made a mistake in calling him a fat ..., but you know, I went over to the other parents, I sat there, and then he came over and said 'Let's go for a walk.' As we got out there, and he threw down his jacket; it was a whole different thing. And then two seconds later, I was lights out, and it was over. I actually said 'What the bleep,' and I was looking at his jacket, and as soon as I put my eyes on it, gone. I was out."
In a telephone interview today, local Pop Warner Board Member and the board's Football Director, Mark Ferreira, said it "was an unfortunate incident. Any youth program is supposed to set examples, but there were no examples set by anyone out there. Hopefully, the kids on the team will be able to finish out the season without any ill effects."
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