Seacoast father claims baseball coach threatened to have daughter, 11, 'beaned' to make her quitBy KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent
April 12. 2018 10:16AM
DURHAM — Officials at the Oyster River Youth Association are investigating a claim by a local father who says a baseball coach threatened to have a child “bean” his 11-year-old daughter if she ended up on his team.
Earlier this month, Dan Klein submitted a complaint to Ben Genes, who is the chairman of the ORYA board of directors. His email stated 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.”
Coach Troy Brissard offered to take the girl on his baseball team. Klein said lead coordinator John Gill, majors coordinator Peter Ventura and coach Rob Follis did nothing to indicate they found the comment inappropriate, and he was informed by Brissard and coach Kirk O’Quinn about the incident.
Klein, who is an Oyster River School Board member, forwarded the complaint to a number of local officials on the Seacoast.
On Wednesday, ORYA Director Matthew Glode said in accordance with the organization’s written policy, the board is conducting an investigation into the alleged comments.
But Glode said board members are aware that a local newspaper report that was picked up by The Associated Press relied on one person’s perception of a third-party conversation, which happened almost three weeks prior to the issued complaint.
“ORYA feels it is important to question every person who witnessed and/or engaged in that conversation before coming to any determinations,” Glode said.
Attorney Alfred Catalfo, who represents Gill, said the allegations against his client are “completely false.”
“The allegation that Mr. Gill somehow participated in, or even tolerated, an express or implied threat against a player is false and outrageous. The safety of all players participating in Oyster River Youth Association baseball is the organization’s first priority, as well as that of Mr. Gill,” Catalfo said.
Catalfo said Gill looks forward to a full and complete investigation into the incident.
“He was the first to arrive at the meeting and the last to leave. At no time did Mr. Gill ever hear a threat, whether direct or implied, of harm against any player, nor would he have tolerated such a comment,” Catalfo said.
Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig said he also is looking forward to the outcome of the investigation into the allegations.
“The thought that grown men would sit around in a local bar and discuss intentionally ’beaning’ a young girl in the head in order to drive her out of OYRA boys’ baseball is simply unconscionable,” Selig said.
Selig said because of the allegations there has been conversation in the community about the level of oversight Durham, Lee, Madbury and the Oyster River School District should have over ORYA. At present, there is none, as ORYA is an independent entity.
Selig said Durham budgets around $40,000 annually to support ORYA operations. Lee and Madbury also offer financial support through annual appropriations, Selig said.
Durham Deputy Police Chief Rene Kelley said Wednesday they were made aware of the alleged threat but are not investigating.
“We made a determination it doesn’t rise to the level of a criminal offense,” Kelley said. “It’s best handled by the ORYA board of directors.”