Damien coach placed on leave after allegedly assaulting player
Damien High School football coach Matt Bechtel has been placed on leave after a Bishop Amat High player filed a report with the La Verne Police Department alleging two men, including a Damien coach, battered him during a postgame fracas, according to a report published Monday.
Jesse Ramos, the father of Bishop Amat senior running back Aiden Ramos, told the Southern California Newspaper Group his son filed an incident report with the La Verne Police Department on Friday night, alleging two men left him with a bruise under his left eye.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which oversees both schools, issued a statement Saturday saying “the person named in the report has been placed on leave pending the result of the investigation by the police department and the archdiocese” but the coach’s name was not released.
The Southern California Newspaper Group reported Monday that Bechtel was placed on leave, citing an email sent by defensive coordinator James Stewart informing parents that he has taken over as interim coach, replacing Bechtel.
There was no response to an email sent by City News Service to a media relations representative of the archdiocese late Monday night.
The elder Ramos provided pictures of his son’s face to the group, showing a small bruise under his son’s eye, which he said was a result of the altercation.
According to his son, Jesse Ramos told SCNG words were exchanged and a coach grabbed his son’s shoulder pads and ripped his helmet off.
“There was also another coach involved, but all the details will come out,” Jesse Ramos told SCNG.
The archdiocese said it has also begun an internal investigation into the matter.
“The Department of Catholic Schools of the archdiocese is working with both high schools and fully cooperating with the police department as the matter is investigated,” the statement said. “We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time as the matter is addressed according to archdiocesean policy and the Christian values of our Catholic schools.”
SCNG reported Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty refused to shake Bechtel’s hand following Bishop Amat’s 35-7 victory Friday night at Damien. Bechtel appeared to confront Hagerty about it as players were continuing to shake hands.
A few moments later, players from both teams began shoving and some coaches were in the middle of it, according to the SCNG.