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 CAB Athletic Director Allegedly Strikes Student

April 29, 2009 - While his Knightstown High School softball team only lost a game last Thursday, coach David Bradford, the athletic director for the Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation, possibly stands to lose much more.

Bradford was placed on paid leave last Friday while the school corporation and local law enforcement investigate an allegation that he struck a player on the arm during the previous night’s home game against Morristown. Bradford is alleged to have hit the 17-year old KHS player in the dugout after becoming angry when players laughed and reacted lightly to an error a teammate made on the field.

The Knightstown Police Department began its investigation into the matter last Thursday, immediately following the game. CAB’s investigation began the following morning.

News of the allegations spread quickly, and not just through Knightstown. Three separate Indianapolis television news programs sent reporters to Knightstown on Friday to cover the story.

Speaking to The Banner last Friday, CAB Superintendent Gary Storie said, “I want folks to know there have been some charges made and they are of a serious nature.” He confirmed that he had placed Bradford on paid leave while CAB investigates the allegation, which he said is being taken “very seriously” and would be “investigated thoroughly” to “try to determine what really happened.”

Once his investigation is complete, Storie said he will make a recommendation to the school board with respect to Bradford’s status with CAB. The school board is scheduled to meet privately in executive session at 5:30 p.m. today to discuss the incident.

“There’s always this question of how deliberate was it, how inadvertent was it, and what was the context around it,” Storie said last Friday. “... Once I get that all sorted out, I will make a recommendation to the board, one way or the other.”

While Bradford is on leave, Storie said his athletic director’s duties are being handled by Transportation Director Janet White and the administration. As for the softball team, which still has about half its season left, Storie said assistant coach Jenna Moore, a French teacher at KIS and the junior varsity coach, will fill in for now.

Storie had hoped that the Knightstown Police Department’s investigation would be completed by today. It appears, however, that will not be the case.

Scott Pinkerton, investigator for the Henry County Prosecutor’s office, told The Banner on Tuesday afternoon that he had received the police report completed by KPD officer Derek Hall. However, after reviewing Hall’s report, he said there will likely be additional investigative work that needs to be done.

According to Pinkerton, once the KPD’s investigation is complete, the prosecutor’s office will review the evidence and determine whether there is probable cause to justify the filing of any criminal charges. Depending on how long it takes the KPD to finish its work, Pinkerton said it could be several weeks before the prosecutor’s office decides what action, if any, it will take.

The KPD interviewed the alleged victim Thursday night after the softball game, and spoke to other eye witnesses on Friday. KPD Chief of Police Danny Baker also confirmed that Bradford submitted to a brief interview on Monday, estimating that he and his attorney were at the police station for 10-15 minutes.

Under state statute, a person commits the crime of battery if they “knowingly or intentionally (touch) another person in a rude, insolent, or angry manner.” While the crime is normally a Class B misdemeanor, it is increased to a more serious Class A misdemeanor if the battery results in bodily injury.

Conviction for a Class A misdemeanors can result in up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. The maximum sentence for a Class B misdemeanor is 180 days in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Dianne Roland, the alleged victim’s mother, told The Banner on Tuesday that her daughter returned to school on Friday, her arm still sore and discolored. She said her daughter has already faced some harassment from other students who think she’s just trying to cause problems for Bradford and blowing things out of proportion.

“The hardest part for us is that there are people saying she’s trying to blow this up, trying to make a big deal out of this,” Roland said. “… I just wanted it to be clear that she did not go to police first. She didn’t file anything until (the police) came and asked her to make a statement.”

Roland said her daughter and her family are content to allow CAB, the police and the prosecutor’s office decide what, if anything, will happen to Bradford.

“We told them that we did not want to ruin his life,” Roland said. “We have not pushed for anything. We have not asked the school, the police or anybody else … for any recourse at all.”

As had been the case with the KPD, Roland said it was the school corporation that contacted them to follow up on the matter. She also said that when they met with KHS Principal Scott Ritchie and Storie on Friday, no request was made that Bradford lose his job.

“At that point, we still did not say … we want him fired or we want him out of here, nothing like that,” Roland said. “We just told the story, told what happened.”

Roland said that she figures Bradford may have enough trouble because this incident without her or her family adding to it. “I don’t want people to think we’re going after him,” she said. “I don’t want to ruin his life.

“ I really don’t think (he’s) probably a bad guy,” she continued. “But, I think if he has issues controlling his temper, then he needs to find (another) job or something.”

CAB School Board President Kevin Knott told The Banner that he was happy with the diligence Storie had shown dealing with this situation. While he would not comment on the specific allegations against Bradford, Knott did say he believes it’s CAB’s responsibility to provide a safe environment in which “educational and extracurricular activities are positive learning experiences for all students.”

The Banner contacted Bradford Monday afternoon, after his interview at KPD headquarters. He declined to provide any comment on the allegation against him.

 

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