Coach Targets Disabled Youth?

GENERIC baseball home plate crime scene tape
A youth tee-ball coach paid one of his players to throw a baseball at the head of a mentally disabled, 8-year-old teammate so the boy wouldn't be able to play in a game, police said Friday.

Mark R. Downs Jr., 27, of Dunbar, offered one of his players $25 to hit the boy in the head, police said. The player hit the boy in both the head and the groin.

Witnesses told police Downs didn't want the boy to play in the game because of his disability.

Downs had an unpublished telephone number and could not immediately be reached for comment Friday. It was unclear whether he had an attorney.

He was arraigned Friday on charges of criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault, corruption of minors, criminal conspiracy to commit simple assault and recklessly endangering another person in the June 27 incident. He was released from jail on an unsecured bond.

Organizers of the R.W. Clark Youth Baseball league did not immediately return calls for comment.