Pittsburgh Attorney David Shrager – News Coverage on the Plum Area High School Football Alleged Assault Case
Below you will find press coverage from U.S. News and Local News media about the alleged assault of a Pittsburgh area high school football player by his coach. Attorney David Shrager’s client alleges he was assaulted by his coach after a football game.
By: Cam Smith, USA TODAY High School Sports | October 1, 2018
A Plum High (Penn.) football player alleges he was assaulted by his coach following a Friday football game, and he has photos and an attorney to prove it.
As reported by Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA, an unnamed Plum football player was attacked by one of his own coaches following Friday’s 45-3 loss to Penn-Trafford. Here’s how his new defense attorney David Shrager described the attack:
“Well, my understanding is that he grabbed him by his neck, slammed him, injured him and there are photographs that show these injuries.
October 5, 2018
PLUM (KDKA) — A Plum Senior High School football coach is telling his side of the story after a student claimed he “roughed him up” in the locker room.
Assistant football coach LaQuentin Smith is desperate to get his reputation back and return to his job coaching.
“The coach grabbed him by the neck and had him up against the wall. That’s what the witnesses are saying,” David Shrager, the player’s attorney, said.
The attorney representing the Plum Senior High School assistant football coach accused of physically assaulting a player in the locker room last week called the allegations “reckless,” saying his client was defending himself after the teen threw a punch at him.
Phil DiLucente, who is representing Laquentin Smith, 26, said at a news conference Friday that the coach was trying to calm the teen, who was “being very belligerent” after a game.
“This is really something that to date, in my humble opinion, has been completely made up,” Mr. DiLucente said.
Plum police are investigating a report that Mr. Smith assaulted the player after Plum’s 45-3 loss to Penn-Trafford, Chief Jeff Armstrong said.
In the moments after Plum’s fifth loss in six games, the player threw his helmet onto the field in frustration, said attorney David Shrager, hired by the teen’s grandmother. Mr. Smith then ordered the player to turn in his uniform, Mr. Shrager said.
But during a skirmish in the locker room, Mr. Smith grabbed the student by the neck and pinned him against a wall, Mr. Shrager said. Other coaches had to pull the coach away, the teen claims.
Mr. Shrager shared photos that he said were taken after the incident that appear to show bruises on the teen’s neck and chest.
“Physical discipline is something only parents should be administering to children,” Mr. Shrager said in a statement. “These allegations are serious and disturbing and students need to feel safe and protected.”
But Mr. Smith disputed the allegations.
Mr. DiLucente said that after the game, Mr. Smith, in an attempt to de-escalate the situation, led the player into a room that was visible to at least 30 witnesses. Inside the room, the teen flung pads and other equipment, turned off the light, then threw a punch at Mr. Smith, Mr. DiLucente said.
“As soon as he saw the swing, he grabbed under his arms and told him to just cool it,” Mr. DiLucente said. “He never swore at him. He never used any anger towards him.”
Mr. DiLucente said Mr. Smith did not grab the teen by the neck and suggested that the bruise in the photo was caused by pounding during the game.
Mr. Smith, a 6-foot-2 former linebacker and defensive tackle at the University of Pittsburgh, said he was “speechless” because he was trying to help the player — not hurt him.
“What it tells me is that you can’t win all the battles,” he said. “You’ve got to pick and choose them.”
Mr. Smith, a second-year assistant at Plum, is on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
School spokeswoman Charlene Payne said the district is cooperating with police.
“Upon learning of this alleged incident, the district followed all state laws, policies, and procedures to maintain the health, safety, and welfare of our students,” she said in a statement.
The district is awaiting the findings of the investigation “before we draw any conclusions,” she said.
Police investigating Plum coach’s alleged assault of player
THERESA CLIFT | Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, 1:03 p.m.
Plum police say they are investigating allegations that a Plum High School assistant football coach assaulted one of the team’s players after Friday night’s game.
Plum police Chief Jeff Armstrong said his department received a report Saturday about the alleged assault. Officers plan to interview witnesses, including players and other coaches, to sort out what happened. Armstrong did not identify the player or the assistant coach.
David Shrager, a Pittsburgh attorney hired by the teen’s grandmother, said the boy threw his helmet on the ground in frustration after Plum’s 45-3 loss to Penn-Trafford. It was Plum’s fifth loss in six games this season.
One of the coaches became angry and told the boy to turn in his uniform, Shrager said. After the boy exchanged words with the coach, the coach allegedly slammed the boy against a wall in the locker room and grabbed him around the neck. Other coaches pulled the man off the teen, Shrager said.
The attorney shared photos taken after the incident of the boy’s alleged injuries, including red marks and bruises on his neck, chest and back.
“My client’s grandmother is of the mind that it is completely inappropriate for a coach, teacher or guidance counselor to place hands on a child for discipline, and I agree,” Shrager said.
The district said in a statement from Superintendent Brendan Hyland’s office that it is cooperating with police.
”We are awaiting the findings from their investigation before we draw any conclusions,” the statement read. “All state laws, district policies and procedures to maintain the health, safety and welfare of our students were properly followed upon learning of this alleged incident. As always, the safety of our students will be our first priority.”
The district did not say whether the assistant coach has been suspended.
School board President Steve Schlauch said he could not comment on personnel matters. Head football coach Matt Morgan also declined to comment.
PLUM BOROUGH, Pa. – Police are investigating an alleged assault of a teenager by an assistant Plum Senior High School football coach.
The 16-year-old and his grandmother reported the assault Saturday morning, police said. According to police, the 16-year-old said he was assaulted by the coach, who has not been identified, in a locker room after Friday night’s game. He said his injuries were minor.
October 1, 2018
PLUM (KDKA) – Plum Police Chief Jeff Armstrong confirmed to KDKA that the department is investigating an alleged incident after Friday night’s high school football game.
Chief Armstrong said they will now work to interview the alleged victim and witnesses who were present inside the team locker room.
“Contusions, bruising, pretty severe bruising on the neck,” said attorney David Shrager. “There certainly is a crime called strangulation.”
Shrager said the player’s grandmother and caretaker alerted police and requested legal representation on Saturday, just hours after the alleged incident. Shrager said the player’s grandmother sent him photographs that allegedly depict injuries sustained during an altercation between the player and a team coach.
“Plum has had a lot of difficulties and everyone in the community knows that and yet they keep having difficulties,” said Shrager. “I’m not sure why, but there seems to be a lot of people who want to put hands on children there and adults should not do that.”
Shrager said he’s still working through the facts of the case, but said the interaction appears to have been “inappropriate.”
“Well my understanding is he grabbed him by his neck, slammed him, injured him and there are photographs that show these injuries.”
Chief Armstrong told KDKA that the department cannot release the incident report since the victim is a minor, but said he will release more details once the department completes its interviews. He also said that the department has only discussed this alleged incident with the school’s student resource officer who works for the department as well.
“Whatever the situation, whatever words were spoken, it is completely and utterly inappropriate for an adult man to manhandle a boy in a locker room and slam him and give him bruises,” said Shrager. “This is inappropriate. In fact, the other coaches came running out and pulled him off- so other adults didn’t think that was appropriate.”
The school district has issued the following statement:
“The Plum Borough School District is fully cooperating with the Plum Boro Police Department, and we are awaiting the findings from their investigation before we draw any conclusions. All state laws, district policies and procedures to maintain the health, safety, and welfare of our students were properly followed upon learning of this alleged incident. As always, the safety of our students will be our first priority.”