Scott Co. Sheriff investigating report of a parent grabbing a teenage soccer referee

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comOctober 18, 2013 

The Scott County Sheriff's office is investigating a report that a parent was involved in a confrontation with a 13-year-old referee Wednesday night at a Georgetown youth soccer game.

Chief Deputy Capt. Jearl Porter said the investigation stemmed from reports that a parent grabbed the teenage referee at a youth soccer game Wednesday night at a field on Jodhpur Lane off Lisle Road.

Porter confirmed that the parent involved in the alleged incident was a man named Keith Spears. Porter would not identify the young referee.

When asked about a television news report that tied Lexington police officer Keith Spears to the confrontation in Georgetown, Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said Lexington police were aware of an "active investigation" by the Scott County Sheriff's Department that involved Spears. Roberts said Spears has been an officer since January 2001 and is currently on duty. He works in the Department's Bureau of Administration, she said. Roberts said she could not speak to details of investigations conducted by other agencies.

A full investigation has not been launched by the department's internal affairs, Roberts said. She said that the "situation is under review" at the bureau level.

"Until the external investigation by the Scott County Sheriff's Department is complete," it will continue to be under review at the bureau level, Roberts said. She said additional information could not "be released at this time, as this is a personnel matter."

Porter said his understanding of Wednesday's confrontation is that it happened after the game. He said "the adult put his hands on the juvenile. We haven't made a determination how far that went yet. But at this point, the juvenile wasn't actually injured. But the adult put his hands on him in some way."

There were "no visible injuries" from the confrontation, Porter said.

Porter said a charge will not be filed unless the teen's parents decide to do so. That's because the incident, which would be a misdemeanor offense, did not happen in the presence of an officer, Porter said.

"It's not the type of incident where we would charge somebody," Porter said. The parents of the 13-year-old can swear out a warrant if they wish to press charges.

Porter said the investigation by Deputy Jimmy Riddle is ongoing.

Attorney Oliver Barber, the chairman of the referee committee of the Kentucky Soccer Referee Association, said he was offering assistance to the 13-year-old..

Barber said the incident occurred after a soccer game involving children under 10.

"You had a 13-year-old referee who refereed a game who was being harassed by this adult. He told the adult that if he didn't behave" he was going to ask him to leave, said Barber.

After the game, "the man came over behind him, grabbed him from behind, grabbed his arm and said, "Punk, you going to throw me out now? Let's see you."

Barber said it was his understanding that deputies with the Scott County Sheriff's office went to the field and conducted interviews.

Chris Zander, executive director of the Kentucky Youth Soccer Association, said his organization is investigating a referee's report that a parent grabbed him by the arm.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter:@vhspears

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