A coach for the Claymont Falcons, a Delaware youth football team, pleaded guilty recently to charges that he punched another coach in the face after an argument, according to a recent report at delcotimes.com . The coach had a significant criminal record and the incident received widespread media coverage, with questions being raised as to how a person with a significant criminal record could be permitted to coach a youth sports team.
The coach, Lawrence Simpson, 42, of Claymont, Delaware, received a two-year probation sentence as well as community service and was ordered to pay nearly $150,000 in restitution for medical bills incurred by the victim, Lamar Shaw. Simpson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor simple assault on charges that he sucker punched coach Shaw of the Chichester Crusaders in October of 2013, following a game at Chichester Middle School. As part of his plea arrangement, Simpson avoided a felony charge of aggravated assault and a count of reckless endangerment. Shaw agreed with the plea, since Simpson admitted to the sucker punch and took complete responsibility for the incident.
Shaw suffered a broken jaw and incurred almost $150,000 in medical bills related to the incident. Shaw expressed concern that the altercation set a bad example for the children who saw it. He stated that he hoped that making Simpson pay his medical bills would set a good example for the children and teach them to be responsible for their actions. Simpson also expressed regret for the incident, saying that it was not in character for him and that he had never been kicked out of a game in 23 years.
The judge expressed deep concern over the incident. “The purpose of youth sports is to give these kids an outlet to keep them off the street and teach them discipline,” he noted. “These kinds of actions show a lack of discipline.”
Simpson will be subjected to electric home monitoring, must complete an anger management program and perform 32 hours of community service as well as paying medical bills totaling $144,150, less the amount covered by insurance. He was also ordered not to have any inappropriate contact with the victim.
Christopher J. Heavens, Simpson’s attorney, stated that there is information to suggest that Simpson had been previously involved in other inappropriate behavior at youth sporting events that did not result in police involvement, but nevertheless should have alerted the Claymont Falcons to Simpson’s tendency toward aggressive behavior and use of profane language. Heavens, who is active in the Chichester Crusaders football program, stated that he hoped to have the Claymont Falcon’s liability insurance company pay for Shaw’s medical bills, since the club negligently failed to perform a standard background check on Simpson that should have eliminated him as a coaching candidate. Heavens stated, “If you don’t hold teams and their insurance companies accountable for incidents like this, do not be surprised if such incidents are repeated in the future. We teach children to be responsible and accountable when they do wrong. These clubs and their insurance companies should set a good example for children and take responsibility and be accountable when they do wrong.”
About Chris Heavens:
Chris Heavens is a personal injury attorney who practices in Charleston, West Virginia at www.heavenslaw.com , and Upper Chichester, Pennsylvania. He has successfully litigated inadequate security and negligent hiring cases in the past. Summaries of his cases are available for review online.
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Heavens Law Firm PLLC
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