Dunbar football player could be tried as an adult in head-butting incident

Prosecuting Attorney Mat Heck Jr. said Wednesday that his office has filed a motion to transfer the case against the 17-year-old, citing the serious nature of the victim’s injuries, and the age of the defendant.

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This newspaper is not naming the defendant pending a judge’s decision on adult court jurisdiction.

“This incident was sickening,” Heck said. “The defendant clearly became angry with the game official and seriously assaulted him. This is way beyond unsportsmanlike conduct — this was a felonious assault and this defendant should be held accountable.”

The longtime veteran official who has worked basketball, baseball for 21 years and volleyball returned to the football field about a week ago.

The teen has been charged with one count of felonious assault causing serious physical harm. The game official, Scott Bistrek, said he suffered a concussion when the player delivered the blow while wearing his helmet.

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The incident happened in the second quarter of Dunbar’s Aug. 31 game against Roger Bacon, and led to the rest of the game being canceled. Bistrek recently testified about the altercation before the Ohio Senate, in reference to a bill that would make assaulting a sports official a felony.

Bistrek said the Dunbar player was called for a personal foul penalty after pushing a Roger Bacon player after the whistle.

“The player did not think the call was fair and was very incensed and cursing,” Bistrek’s testimony said. “I motioned the player off the field and told him he needed to go off for a play to calm down. The player was not being ejected from the game, just being sent to the sideline for a play to calm down. At this time the player says, ‘F you,’ and then head-butts me.”

FIRST STORY: Police, OHSAA investigating Dunbar incident

The player’s Dunbar teammates and coaches intervened, even as the player moved threateningly toward another official. Dayton Public Schools officials later issued an open apology to Bistrek, Roger Bacon and everyone affected by the game’s cancellation.

Bistrek said his headaches the first couple of days after the incident were the worst he’s ever had. Bistrek’s wife said her husband, a Desert Storm combat veteran, briefly talked of quitting officiating all together.

“Football is a contact sport, but a referee should never be in fear of being physically attacked by a player,” Heck said Wednesday.

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