Parent charged with harassing soccer player

Posted: Friday, September 05, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) A former Division of Agriculture chief and soccer dad has been charged with harassment and misdemeanor assault after he allegedly tackled, then pulled the shorts and underwear off an 11-year-boy at a soccer practice in Palmer in June.

According to documents filed by the prosecutors in Palmer District Court in Palmer, Mark A. Weaver, 53, was helping coach at the time. His son played on the team.

Three parents, including Joe Bailey, whose son played on the team, witnessed the incident on a field behind Palmer Middle School, according to charging documents.

Bailey told the Anchorage Daily News that he and another parent were at an adjoining soccer field when he saw Weaver start to chase the boy. Weaver had been working with about 10 boys at the time, Bailey said.

At first, Bailey said, he assumed it was a joke. But then he saw Weaver tackle the boy, strip off his clothes and throw them onto the grass a short distance away. The boy crawled over to retrieve his shorts and ran off into the woods using his clothes to cover himself, Bailey said.

''I don't care what a child does; that's not an alternative to dealing with it,'' he said.

Weaver said Thursday there was ''lots more'' to tell about what happened but that he did not want to discuss it before his trial, scheduled for December.

He said his actions were ''unusual in an unusual situation.''

Palmer police investigated the episode.

Weaver headed the state Agriculture Division from March 1987 until May 1988.

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