Juneau police investigate if coach punched player

Associated Press

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Two Juneau football coaches have been placed on administrative leave while police and state officials investigate whether a coach punched a player and knocked him unconscious during a boxing match held last year during an out-of-state football camp.

One piece of evidence police are looking at is grainy video that appears to show the incident. It was posted on YouTube but has since been removed by the website as a violation of its anti-bullying policy.

The video showed a boxing match with two people wearing gloves. The smaller boxer was hit in the face. After turning away, the smaller boxer was punched from behind and floored as those watching cheered. It's not clear who shot the video.

The boy's father tells the Juneau Empire (http://bit.ly/10wjrk0 ) he was provided a copy of the video by Juneau police after he learned of its existence from Thunder Mountain principal Dan Larson. The Associated Press is not identifying anyone the father or son because the boy is a minor who might be the victim of a crime. Attempts to reach the father Monday were not immediately successful.

Juneau School District administrators on Sunday said they just found out about the incident that occurred last summer when the team traveled to Oregon for a football camp. They said they have turned the matter over to the Juneau Police Department and filed a report with the Office of Children's Services.

"We are deeply concerned about these allegations and the details that are emerging regarding this incident," Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich said in a statement. "We are concerned further that this incident went unreported for nearly nine months. The Juneau School District has higher expectations of our staff and coaches who we entrust with our students."?

The school district has not identified the coaches on leave.

Juneau Police Department Sgt. Chris Burke told the Empire that school administrators filed a complaint with the department and made them aware of the video. He didn't immediately return calls from the AP on Monday.

"It is true and it is being investigated," Burke told the newspaper. "It is currently an active investigation. Once we have all of our interviews down and completed everything, and documented our facts, if there is a violation of the law, then we will make a recommendation to either the district attorney and/or the city attorney depending on what charges or what level of charges are appropriate."

Thunder Mountain head football coach Bill Byouer was on the Oregon trip but said he was not aware of any video. He heard about it, he said, from a Juneau Empire reporter.

"I think that what we have is a set of allegations that, if true, are very disturbing and that would not meet our expectations," Gelbrich told the Empire. "But what we have to do is we have to establish what the facts are. We certainly have been told how people characterize what went on there and, if that is true, than obviously we are very disturbed by that."

Gelbrich said once school officials have established the facts in the case, "we'll take the appropriate action. If these things are true than obviously we have some pretty serious work to do."

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