DA Casts Doubt on Alleged Felony Water Polo Assault Case

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A Contra Costa County attorney criticized recent reports that a 15-year old Acalanes High School JV water polo player faced felony assault and battery charges after allegedly breaking the nose of an opponent during a match in September.

Mary Knox, Senior Deputy District Attorney told the San Jose Mercury News that, “things are being reported that are not close to accurate.” Knox could not discuss specifics of the case, including whether any charges had been filed related to the incident.

Those comments follow an SFGate.com story asserting that county prosecutors “…filed [felony] charges after concluding the underwater blow to the boy’s face…was purposeful and crossed the line into criminal behavior.”

Knox’s criticism targeted an email campaign led by USA Water Polo Pacific Zone Chair Andrew Morris, also head coach at Marin Water Polo Club. His email circulated among the water polo community and asserted the “district attorney’s office filed formal felony assault and battery charges against the player for ‘inadvertently’ breaking an opponents’ nose,” according to the Mercury News.

USA Water Polo CEO Chris Ramsey called Morris’ email comments “completely outrageous” and not representative of the governing body’s views of the subject.

In his email Morris wrote:

The criminal justice system is not the place to control and address issues as described in any sport, which happens hundreds of time per year, where there is appropriate officiating and ruling infrastructure in place at the league and school level. Not to mention, the dangerous precedent it would set for high school sports in general.

The Bellarmine Prep athlete who suffered the injury required surgery after the incident. The two teams were taking part in a junior varsity tournament at Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek on September 19.