Manhattan football players won't face charges in "birthday beat down"

Photo courtesy of Manhattan USD 383
By  | 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) — Members of Manhattan High School's football team will not face charges in connection with the "birthday beat down" investigation.

"After thorough review and consideration of prosecutorial charging standards, the Lyon Co. Attorney's Office is declining to file criminal charges at this time," the Lyon Co. Attorney Marc Goodman said in a letter to the Riley Co. Attorney's Office.

Goodman said his office's decision was because they did not believe there was enough admissible evidence to gain a conviction.

The Riley Co. Police Dept. investigators had found two sophomore players were injured following football practice on October 26, 2017. Several other players were identified by investigators as being in the locker room, either as participants or as witnesses, at that time.

Goodman also said the students actions did not violate the law against hazing, which requires an act that could result in death or great bodily harm that must be done to join a social or fraternal organization. He said their actions were not necessary to join the team or any other organization.

The names of the players in the incident have not been released.

In December, Riley Co. prosecutors chose not to pursue charges against head coach Joe Schartz, who faced a possible Endangerment of a Child count. A little over three weeks later, USD 383 Superintendent Marvin Wade said Schartz would keep his job, including both his teaching and coaching duties. Since the incident was first reported, Schartz had faced calls for his ouster as well as an outpouring of support.

The fate of the players was placed in the Lyon Co. Attorney's Office's hands, which was tapped to serve as a special prosecutor. Because two members of his staff had relatives who played for the Indians, Attorney Barry Wilkerson said he reached out to his counterpart in Lyon Co. to avoid any conflict of interest.