November 20, 2012

Messalonskee football player's lawyer laments refusal to charge former coach

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling
Staff Writer

OAKLAND -- A lawyer for a Messalonskee High School football player said he was deeply disappointed with the decision Monday not to prosecute former high school coach Wes Littlefield on an assault charge.

click image to enlarge

Messalonskee High School head football coach, Wes Littlefield, on the sidelines against Cony High School at Messalonskee High School in Oakland.

Staff file photo by Michael G. Seamans

Walter McKee, who represents the player and his family, said Tuesday that Littlefield should not be allowed to coach again.

"Setting aside whether the actions here were criminal, there is no coach -- I repeat no coach -- who can honestly say that they approve of the behavior here," McKee said.

Littlefield resigned as head coach the day after the Sept. 19 incident with the player at a team practice and was summoned by the Oakland Police Department Sept. 25. Acting District Attorney Alan Kelley said Monday that he wouldn't file the criminal assault charge in court because it wasn't supported by the evidence.

The exact nature of the incident has been a matter of dispute, but parties from both sides agree that Littlefield's hand came into contact with the player's helmet. When he announced his decision not to prosecute, Kelley said his office "does not condone the alleged conduct."

Also on Tuesday, police responded to criticism from Littlefield's lawyer, Jason Jabar, who said the department should never have brought the charges without first consulting the district attorney's office.

"We did contact the district attorney's office before we issued the summons," Capt. Rick Stubbert said Tuesday. "An assistant district attorney felt that the charges were warranted so that's what we did."

After hearing the response, Jabar said he didn't mean to criticize the way the investigation was handled, but that he wished the publicity could have been avoided.

Stubbert said that he wasn't critical of the final outcome from Kelley's office.

"I also respect the district attorney's decision," he said.

When announcing the decision not to prosecute the case, Kelley praised the police department's investigation, which he called outstanding and thorough.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling -- 861-9287


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