Proposed law would stiffen penalties for assaulting officials

Ohio

OHSAA says high school sports referees have been attacked by students, parents and spectators alike

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — According to the Ohio High School Athletics Association, there have been a dozen reports of referees being assaulted in the last two years.

The OHSAA says high school sports referees have been attacked by students, parents and spectators alike.

It is currently a misdemeanor to assault an official during or after a game. A bill being considered by lawmakers would make a first offense a misdemeanor with a mandatory $1,500 fine and 40 hours of community service.

However, if an item was used in the assault, like a helmet or baseball bat, the offender could be charged with a felony, even on their first offense.

All subsequent offenses would be felonies.

“I think it’s really going to send a message because if me knowing that, hey, if I’m going to have a felony tattooed on my record for the rest of my life I might second guess about maybe going after an official before, during or after a game,” said Scott Bistrek, a past victim of violence against officials.

The officials insist the bill be passed by lawmakers. ​

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