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Ohio Little League Coach Accused of Punching Parent

MASSILLON, Ohio - A Little League coach with a criminal past has been charged with punching the league president at a baseball game here.

Karim Carter, 41, was arraigned in Massillon Municipal Court Thursday on one count of felonious assault.

Canton Little League president Shawn Thomas said he was sucker-punched by Carter when he tried to intervene after Carter and a fan were ejected from a game Tuesday for arguing over an umpire's call. Thomas said he sustained two chipped teeth and a sore jaw.

He said the game was called after some fans became unruly and threatened to hurt the umpire.

Police say the arrest and fans' behavior left the players in tears.

"I'm sitting here saying, 'C'mon guys, calm down,'" recounted Thomas, of his conversation with Carter and the parent. "I was talking to (a parent)...and I get this (punch) in the face and I'm on the ground."

While setting Carter's bond on the felonious assault charge, Massillon Municipal Court Magistrate Joel Fichter questioned how Carter, who has a lengthy criminal record, could have been allowed to coach children in the first place.

"Based on his past record," said Magistrate Fichter, "two assaults, firearm in a motor vehicle, domestic violence, disorderly conduct by intoxication, I can't believe, I wouldn't want him coaching one of my kids. I can tell you that."

According to Thomas, a background check was done on Carter by the league and revealed his criminal record. Thomas said that Carter was allowed to coach because none of the criminal cases involved children.

When asked if the league was hearing any criticism from parents about the decision to let Karim Carter coach despite his past, Thomas replied, "We've always had that.

"And as we've explained to them though, yes, he's always had a temper," Thomas said. "We've been able to control it in the past...He was doing good with the kids."

Carter has been banned from the Canton Little League.

He was released after posting $1,000 bond Thursday. He has been ordered to have no contact with Thomas and any Little League baseball functions.

Carter is due back in court April 28.

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