Durham withholds money for Oyster River Youth Association over coach's alleged sexist 'beaning' threatBy KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent
April 17. 2018 5:37PM
DURHAM — The town council in Durham unanimously adopted a resolution Monday night that withholds already approved funding for the Oyster River Youth Association pending the outcome of an investigation into a claim that a baseball coach threatened to have a child “bean” an 11-year-old girl.
The resolution states that Durham taxpayers support the ORYA with more than $40,000 in annual funding and through providing use of town fields and offices at no cost. It demands an independent investigation into the recent allegations and says future funding is contingent on the town council being able to appoint one representative to the ORYA board of directors.
The alleged incident came to light after school board member Dan Klein submitted a compliant to Ben Genes, who is the chair of the ORYA board of directors, saying his daughter was the subject of the threat.
Klein told Genes that during a March 21 majors draft meeting at Libby’s Bar & Grill on Main Street in Durham, coach Jeff Robar said if the girl was put on his team he would have another child “bean her right in the ear hole and she’ll quit instantaneously.”
Klein learned of the alleged threat from coaches Troy Brissard and Kirk O’Quinn.
ORYA Director Matthew Glode said Friday they were still in the process of investigating the claim. Attempts to find out the status of the investigation Monday and Tuesday were not successful.
Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig said Tuesday the resolution was passed after an hour of discussion. He said the idea of having a council member on the ORYA board of directors is not a new one.
Officials brought up the idea last year after learning ORYA does not have an independent audit of their bookkeeping conducted, Selig said.
Selig said ORYA is a good organization that provides many activities for the communities it serves, but officials feel it is important for the town to have a set of eyes and ears on the board as well as an independent review of the alleged “beaning” threat.
“One of the concerning aspects of the complaint is there were members of the baseball league and board participating in that meeting. If that’s accurate, that speaks even more strongly to have a full review done so people can have confidence in the outcome,” Selig said.
Children from Durham, Madbury and Lee participate in ORYA programs.
Meanwhile, the three men Klein accused of standing by and doing nothing about the comment have lawyered up.
Attorney John Ventura represents ORYA treasurer and majors coordinator Peter Ventura as well as coach Rob Follis. He said the men have been ridiculed in the press and on social media.
“There have even been suggestions that they should be the subject of a ‘beaning’ with a baseball. This has been a tremendous stress on both men and their families,” Ventura said.
Ventura said the men have been dedicated to the ORYA for a number of years.
“Both of these men have done nothing but promote the integrity of the association and teach the children of the community positive values through youth sports,” Ventura said.
Attorney Alfred Catalfo represents league lead coordinator John Gill.
“There has never been a complaint against him, and his personal and professional reputation is above reproach,” Catalfo said. “This is a serious allegation and I have advised Mr. Gill of his rights and remedies under the law.”
Attempts to reach Klein and Robar Tuesday were unsuccessful.