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Former South Hagerstown wrestling coach faces assault charge

April 03, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

The former head wrestling coach at South Hagerstown High School was charged Tuesday in connection with a February incident in which a student was pushed against a wall and held there, Hagerstown City Police said.

Brian Jacob Brake, 37, of 11335 Shimpstown Road, Mercersburg, Pa., was served with a criminal summons on one count of second-degree assault, police said. He wasn't taken into custody.

Washington County Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said Wednesday that Brake's status as a teacher at South High will be determined pending a review.

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"He is no longer the wrestling coach," Morgan said Wednesday night.

Brake had been head wrestling coach at the school for eight years.

A message left on Brake's telephone answering machine Wednesday night wasn't returned. Subsequent calls resulted in busy signals.

Police said they were contacted on Feb. 6 by representatives of the Washington County Department of Social Services about an alleged assault during wrestling practice at South High two days earlier.

A 15-year-old student who was attending the Feb. 4 practice apparently decided he no longer wanted to participate, words were exchanged between Brake and the student, and the student started to leave the practice session, police said.

More words were exchanged and Brake walked after the student, confronted him and demanded an apology, police alleged. When the student refused to apologize, police alleged, Brake grabbed the student and pushed him against a wall.

He continued to hold the student against the wall while demanding an apology, police alleged. He then let the student go and the student went into the locker room.

Police said the incident was witnessed by the assistant coach and other members of the wrestling team.

After interviewing Brake, the student and the other witnesses, police forwarded the case to the Washington County State's Attorney's office, which charged Brake with the single count of second-degree assault.

A conviction on a misdemeanor second-degree assault charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.

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