Our View

New law tough on

People who think they could someday be inclined to cause a problem at a youth sports event should pay particular attention to an article in today’s Examiner. Take note of a follow-up report on page 27 to a story that was first published last summer.

On Aug. 24, during a match at the Marlboro Soccer Tournament involving two teams of 10-year-old boys, the parent of a youth who was playing in the match was arrested and charged with striking an adult who was coaching.

According to Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Robert A. Honecker Jr., in the past an incident such as the one that occurred at the Marlboro soccer match may have been recorded as a simple assault and have been handled in municipal court.

However, under a law signed by Gov. James E. McGreevey in response to so-called "sports rage," incidents such as this that occur at youth sports events are now regarded as criminal aggravated assault and must come to the attention of the county prosecutor’s office and the state Superior Court.

That’s exactly what happened in this case, and in November the person who was charged was accepted into a pretrial intervention program offered through the Superior Court to defendants who have no prior record of criminal acts. The probationary period will last from one to three years. There no doubt has been emotional and economic costs to that individual.

Think once, think twice, think three times before causing a problem at what is supposed to be a learning experience for youths, or else the lesson learned will not be for children, but a hard one for an adult who should know better.