Archive for Friday, May 21, 2004

Soccer dad faces assault charge

Dispute arose over coach’s unwillingness to let daughters on team

May 21, 2004


— The father of two high school soccer players has been charged with punching their coach in the face after he refused to allow them to rejoin the team after quitting the squad.

Joseph Soto, 49, of Lenexa, Kan., is charged with one count of assault while on school property. He made his first appearance Thursday in Jackson County District Court.

According to court documents, Soto came to see Blue Springs High School girls' soccer coach Steven Bettlach on May 3. Soto told Bettlach he wanted to talk to him in private, and the two went to Bettlach's classroom.

Soto told the coach that his two daughters, who had quit the team the week before, had decided to rejoin the squad.

Bettlach told Sato it wasn't possible to take them back. According to the documents, Soto then punched Bettlach, afterward standing over him and saying, "You better not report this or I will come after you."

Bettlach was later taken for medical treatment and received 12 stitches to close a wound on his upper lip.

At Thursday's hearing, judge ordered Soto to have no contact with the coach and to keep off Blue Springs School District property, said John Liebnitz, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office.

Soto's attorney, Charles McKeon, did not immediately return calls seeking comment. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 30.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.