MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) — Manhattan High School's head football coach Joe Schartz will not face charges in connection with the "birthday beat down" investigation.
The Riley Co. Attorney's Office was weighing a charge of Endangerment of a Child after allegations surfaced of a beating involving multiple of Schartz' players. On Friday, Co. Attorney Barry Wilkerson announced no such charges would be filed and his office has concluded its investigation into his matter.
However, Wilkerson also revealed his office has asked a member of the Lyon Co. Attorney's Office to serve as a special prosecutor into the accusations against several players of the Indians football team.
Because two members of his staff have relatives on the team, Wilkerson said he reached out to Lyon Co. Atty. Marc Goodman to avoid a conflict of interest. He explained Goodman or one of the attorneys in his office will determine if charges would be appropriate.
The Riley Co. Police Dept. had been investigating the matter and turned over to prosecutors its findings earlier this week. It reportedly 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. None of the players names have been released.
Since the incident, Schartz has faced calls for his ouster as well as an outpouring of support. On Wednesday, the Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 school board told a packed house that it was premature to discuss firing Schartz until the investigation is completed. Superintendent Dr. Marvin Wade is now tasked with deciding his future.
The next day, Manhattan High Principal Greg Hoyt sent out a lengthy statement saying there was a code of silence among athletes on the football team, which has made it difficult to get facts on the alleged beating in October.