A former soccer coach pleaded no contest Wednesday to a battery charge against a referee, and was banned from coaching youth sports for two years.
In addition, East Fork Justice Tom Perkins told Elizabeth Deaton, 30, that she could not attend any youth sports activities for the rest of 2014.
Perkins suspended a 90-day Douglas County Jail sentence for two years, but said Deaton’s post-game behavior on the soccer field Oct. 12, 2013, was “reprehensible.”
“Treating other parents, volunteers, coaches like this under any circumstances just models the worst of behavior for children,” Perkins said.
Although Deaton pleaded “no contest” to the charge, she took responsibility for the incident at Ranchos Aspen Park at the conclusion of a Saturday match between two under age-10 American Youth Soccer Organization teams.
The victim testified Wednesday that she was officiating as a volunteer referee, and nullified a goal made by Deaton’s team.
She said Deaton’s team won anyway.
“I never saw anybody go from zero to absolute out-of-control in such a short amount of time as she (Deaton) did. She immediately rushed me, shouting (obscenities), saying that I needed glasses,” the woman said.
“I tried to explain why I made the call. She continued to charge me. I don’t want to repeat the swear words. I told her she was ejected from the field. She charged me and struck me,” the woman said.
The victim said she didn’t defend herself because she didn’t want to upset the young players and the other children at the park. She twisted away from Deaton, and suffered a ruptured disc.
The victim said it took a number of adults to get Deaton under control before deputies arrived.
“It affected me emotionally,” she said. “I had never been hurt before. Now I am in counseling.”
She asked Perkins to sentence Deaton to the maximum, and order her to pay restitution toward her medical bills.
Deaton’s attorney, David Houston, said his client had written apologies to the victim, the children and parents on her team, and the American Youth Soccer Organization board.
He said there were differing accounts about the incident, but Deaton accepted responsibility for the victim’s out-of-pocket medical bills of more than $2,000.
“This situation is totally out of character as concerns my client. She is truly a different person,” Houston said.
At the time of the battery, Deaton was in the middle of what Houston described as a “very contentious” custody battle and divorce.
He said she has remarried and enrolled in anger management counseling.
Deaton is the office coordinator at Trinity Lutheran Church and submitted multiple letters from church staff and parishioners attesting to her good character, and expressing shock at the incident.
The charge originally was battery on a sports official, a gross misdemeanor, but it was amended to misdemeanor battery.
She apologized to the victim in court Wednesday.
“I was out-of-line,” Deaton said. “It was bad judgment on my part, and I hope you can forgive me.”
In addition to banning Deaton from coaching for two years, Perkins ordered her to complete 48 hours of community service, and pay restitution.
She faced up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.