Saturday, May 22, 2010

Assault on Clare bus leads to JV Season Cancellation

An alleged assault that happened to a middle school student while on a Clare bus during a JV Baseball tournament May 1 in Coleman led to the cancelation of the rest of the Clare junior varsity softball games this season and the expulsion of the 15 year-old Clare High School student who reportedly made the assault. The victim was a 10 year-old team manager.

“This was probably one of the most serious incidents I have dealt with since I’ve been in the business,” Superintendent Greg McMillan said. “We decided to cancel the rest of the season because they are a team. This needs to be treated as a team issue.”

McMillan said the incident happened during the lunch break between games during a tournament at the Coleman School. “Although the stories vary,” he said, “we’ve determined that most of the team was on the bus when the incident happened.”

He said one of the team members reported the assault to the head coach after the incident. “He took immediate steps to deal with it,” McMillan said.

Following a meeting May 6 with parents of the team members, a decision was made by school officials to cancel the remainder of the JV season, according to a release from High School Principal Lee Turner. The release said, “At a meeting held the evening of May 6th for the parents and members of the Clare High School junior varsity baseball team, it was announced by school administration and coaches present that the remainder of the team’s season is cancelled.” McMillan said that more than half of the season’s games have been played.

“It is unfortunate for everyone involved,” Clare Police Chief Dwayne Miedzianowski said, “particularly the victim, and I understand why the school made the decision they made. I would expect anyone who witnessed something like that happening would come forward and report it. I commend the school for taking the action they did.”

Miedzianowski said the Clare department is working with the Michigan State Police to investigate the incident.

“We immediately called the State Police in on the investigation,” he said, “because there was a question of where the incident actually happened.”

The student involved in the assault was suspended at the May 6 meeting and expelled from Clare Schools for 180 school days at another meeting May 12, McMillan said. “That was a permanent expulsion, which means the student cannot attend Pioneer High School during the expulsion time.”

Trooper Jeff Huovinen is handling the investigation for the State Police. He was unavailable at press time.

According to Sergeant David Kaiser at the Mt. Pleasant State Police Post, the incident, reported as criminal sexual conduct, was reported by a coach who “overheard something – possibly a commotion.” Witnesses to the incident were still being interviewed as of Wednesday.

Charges haven’t been made against the Clare High School student yet. After interviews are completed the matter will be sent to the prosecutor for review, Kaiser said.

The alleged assault happened in Warren Township of Midland County on the Clare bus during a lunch break during the Coleman tournament, he said.

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