Manhattan High School football coach Joe Schartz will not be facing any charges for child endangerment, according to a press release from Riley County Attorney Barry Wilkerson sent to KMAN Friday afternoon.
The matter stems from investigations into hazing and the football program that first came to light in October.
Wilkerson also said his office has two employees who have a child or relative who are members of the football team. Because of that conflict of interest, Lyon County Attorney Marc Goodman has agreed to have either himself or another attorney in his office serve as a special prosecutor concerning potential battery charges against players.
The information from the county attorney’s office comes after MHS Principal Greg Hoyt issued a statement on the matter Thursday.
Wilkerson’s full statement can be read below:
On December 20th, 2017 the Riley County Attorney’s Office received reports from the Riley County Police Department regarding an incident that occurred following a practice by the Manhattan High Football team on October 26th , 2017, in which two sophomore players suffered injuries.
Several players have been listed as being present during the event in the locker room, either as participants or witnesses to what occurred. The crime alleged is Battery, a violation of K.S.A. 21- 5413.
Two employees of the Riley County Attorney’s office have a child or relative who are members of the football team and the Riley County Attorney’s Officer has a conflict of interest which prohibits our office from determining what if any charges should be filed and against which players. Marc Goodman, Lyon County Attorney, has agreed to have either himself, or an attorney in his office, serve as special prosecutor. Mr. Goodman will review this case and has the ability to file, or not file, charges as he deems appropriate.
In addition, the issue has arisen as to whether or not Coach Schartz has committed the crime of Endangering a Child. On this issue the Riley County Attorney’s Office does not have a conflict of interest.
The Crime of Endangering a Child requires that the actor knowingly and unreasonably cause or permit a child to be placed in a situation in which there was a reasonable probability that a child’s life, body or health would be endangered. Factors to consider include the gravity of any potential harm and the probability that harm would result. This office has reviewed investigative reports and determined there is no basis to conclude that Joe Schartz committed the crime of Endangering a Child.
The typical situations of Endangering a Child involve situations such as leaving a baby alone in an apartment overnight; driving drunk with a child in a car, leaving a child for a long period in a hot car or leaving a toddler in an unattended running vehicle. As such no charges will be filed against Mr. Schartz and the Riley County Attorney’s Office has concluded their review of these matters. The Lyon County Attorney’s Office will determine what if any charges are to be filed against the players involved.