Volleyball coach Marin indicted for slapping investigation

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Konrad Ott of Petaluma in San Rafael, Calif. on Tuesday, September 3, 2013. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)

A volleyball coach accused of slapping a girl at his club in San Rafael has been charged with misdemeanors, not the crime alleged by police.

Konrad Ott, co-founder of the Absolute Volleyball Club, was indicted on Thursday for inflicting unjustifiable physical or mental pain on a child and bodily harm to a child.

Ott, who has been out on bail since his arrest last week, has not pleaded guilty. He is due back in Marin Superior Court on June 29.

His defense attorney, Jessyca Hoagland, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Ott, a 51-year-old Petaluma resident, allegedly punched a 16-year-old player in the face in April during a training session at the club. A witness said he did so after the player asked a question he called “stupid”.

The girl’s family provided San Rafael police with injury photos showing a bruised cheek with broken skin.

Last Friday, the San Rafael Police Department took him to Marin County Jail on suspicion of a felony child endangerment. The bond amount was $50,000. He was quickly released on bail pending a review by prosecutors.

The Marin County District Attorney’s Office filed the complaint Tuesday. District Attorney Lori Frugoli declined to comment on the prosecution’s reasons for choosing the misdemeanor charges.

Ott quit his coaching job at the volleyball club, which he founded nearly 20 years ago with Katie Pease, his wife. Ott is a former coach at Marin Catholic High School and Pease was a coach at Redwood High School.

The club, which charges fees and travel costs that can exceed $10,000 per year per player, has helped launch many players into elite college programs.

Pease remains co-manager of the club with Jake Spain, a club manager who was promoted on Ott’s exit. Spain is a former volleyball coach at Marin Catholic.

On Saturday, Spain and Pease emailed members to address the crisis. They said Ott had been ‘removed’ from his post and ‘will have no role as coach, manager or leader of the club’.

“At this time, we are unable to discuss the pending charges as this is an open and ongoing investigation,” they said. “We respect legal process as well as the privacy of our players, coaches and families and therefore at this time will not be providing further comment.”

Spain and Pease said they met with players and their families to improve communication and “share our vision for the future of stroke”.

In addition to the criminal case, Ott is being investigated by the US Center for SafeSport, a nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to combat abuse against amateur athletes. The organization temporarily suspended him from coaching players at USA Volleyball, the sport’s governing body. Its regional branch is the Northern California Volleyball Association.

Potential penalties range from a written warning to permanent ban from coaching eligibility.

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