A Baseball Story In The Birthplace Of Little League Baseball – PART I

The following is the result of a more than 18-month long investigation by Fox Sports Williamsport into the Williamsport Area High School Baseball Team trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in the spring of 2018.

This story is graphic and contains details related to multiple indecent sexual assaults.

The author and editor of this story have made the editorial decision to not publish the names of the individuals under the age of 18 at the time of the incident who have been clearly identified as committing these acts in this case since they have not been formally charged with a crime.

A Baseball Story In The Birthplace Of Little League Baseball

IF NOTHING HAPPENED IN MYRTLE BEACH

WHY WON’T THE WASD TELL US THE STORY?

PART I

By Todd Bartley, Fox Sports Williamsport

Todd@Foxsportswilliamsport.com

570-327-1300

The Williamsport Area High School Baseball Team trip of a lifetime to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in the spring of 2018 which Fred Holland the Williamsport School District Solicitor, characterized the incident as ”indecent and inappropriate as it relates to the behavior of a Williamsport Area High School Baseball player” changed a players life when he was attacked by teammates.

In addition, after surviving the attacks they were then denied the justice they deserve when those who were charged with ensuring their safety colluded with others in positions of power to protect the abuser.

 

BACKGROUND OF INCIDENT FROM MILLIONAIRE MAYHEM STORY

In late March of 2018 the Williamsport Area High School Baseball team took a trip to play games in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Several Williamsport Area High School administrators including Head High School Principal Brandon Pardoe and Athletic Director Sean McCann, both of whom had sons on the team at the time also made the trip.

One evening during the trip at the Atlantica Resort serving as the team hotel; a player referred to as JOHN DOE #1 in order to protect his identity was assaulted by at least one other teammate while he slept.

The indecent sexual assault was captured on a mobile device by teammate referred to in this story as VIDEOGRAPHER #1. The incident was subsequently shared to the phone of who will be referred to in this story as ALLEGED PERPETRATOR #1 and shared the video on social media with multiple parties on the team and in the WASD community.

The first video is quite clear in identifying both ALLEGED PERPETRATOR #1 with his pants and undergarment around his ankles in a state of undress and JOHN DOE #1.

Multiple players have been identified as being in the room during the incident laughing including ALLEGED PERPETRATOR #1, VIDEOGRAPHER #1 and at least two additional WAHS teammates including the nephew of Pardoe.

A second video shows ALLEGED PERPETRATOR #1 sitting on the face of JOHN DOE #1 placing his male anatomy in the face of the victim.

A third video of a separate incident also shared to social media and verified by a number of fact witnesses who have viewed the video; revealed several acts of a sexual nature toward a second victim JOHN DOE #2.

He  was held down by multiple teammates and can be heard screaming while a television remote is being placed by ALLEGED PERPETRATOR #1 into the victim’s rear end.

Multiple WAHS players are also identified in videos 2 and 3 including but not limited to those identified by fact witnesses who viewed the video as being roommates at the Atlantica Resort of ALLEGED PERPETRATOR #1.

Once the victims survived the attacks they were left to think about what their teammates and so called friends had just done to them.

JOHN DOE #1, did not have a parent with him on the trip, instead they stayed home to work to support the family who struggles just to make ends meet.

Without his own cell phone, JOHN DOE #1 did not call home to his family after the incident.

This trip was unusual in that outside of the WASD Baseball coaching staff there were no other adult chaperones on the trip.

This fact was uncovered during the mediation with the Office of Open Records (OOR) during the nearly 18 month investigative report conducted by Fox Sports Williamsport. (After the WASD initially denied a number of relevant documents in a RTKL request.)

Fox Sports Williamsport began using the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law to request documents from the WASD related to the incident in Myrtle Beach.

To that end, the Law Firm of Mutchler Lyons was retained by Fox Sports Williamsport and specifically Attorney Terry Mutchler; after the initial RTKL requests yielded resistance and denials.

Mutchler was in the mediation sessions with the WASD and overseen by the OOR.

Mutchler, is an experienced trial attorney and former award-winning AP journalist appointed by Governor Ed Rendell to create Pennsylvania’s Office of Open Records, enforcing the state’s Right to Know Law in 2008. She served seven years building the Office.

Her law partner, Charlie Lyons, is former state Director for US Senator Bob Casey.

As the appeal process of the open records denial filed by the WASD began, Mutchler offered the following, “The Supreme Court has said loud and clear that the Right to Know Law is designed to promote access to official government information in order to prohibit secrets, scrutinize the actions of public officials and make public officials accountable for their actions,” Mutchler said.

She added, “This case fits the bill. Parents and the community that hosts the Little League World Series need to know what happened, what official action was taken and to determine if appropriate safety measures are in place.”

 

BACKGROUND ON THE PENNSYLVANIA RIGHT TO KNOW LAW REQUESTS

FOX Sports Williamsport filed a Right-to-Know Law Request of the Williamsport Area School District for documents pertaining to the baseball team trip to Myrtle Beach during the 2017-2018 schoolyear on June 17, 2019.

WASD RTK Request 6-17-19

Subsequently, on June 21, 2019 the Williamsport Area School District answered FOX Sports Williamsport with a request for a 30-day legal review of the requested documents.

WASD RTK Legal Extension Request 6-21-19

After a 30-day legal review of the requested documents, on July 18, 2019 the Williamsport Area School District answered FOX Sports Williamsport with a denial of records as noted in the attachment.

WASD RTK Response without attachments 7-18-19

From the WASD records denial on July 18, 2019:

4. Chaperone clearances — Denied because these items are neither records, nor public records as those terms are defined in the RTKL. Further, regarding criminal background checks, dissemination is prohibited under the Criminal History Record Information Act, 18 Pa.C.S. § 9106. As to child abuse clearances, dissemination is prohibited under the Child Protective Services Law, 23 Pa.C.S. § 6335.

Fox Sports Williamsport appealed the records denial with the OOR on August 8, 2019 and the WASD attorneys opted for mediation and on October 8, 2019 WASD amended their RTKL response as follows:

According to documentation obtained from the Williamsport Area School District through a Right to Know Law Request, the only adult supervisors that had provided clearances and passed background checks were;

District states: here is the list of district employees, coaches, and volunteers who either accompanied the team to Myrtle Beach or were present as parents.

Numbers 1-6 were coaches or volunteer coaches.

Number 7 was a volunteer statistician.

Numbers 8-9 are district employees who also had children on the team.

  1. Ryan Miller (Head Baseball Coach)
  2. David Heller
  3. Tariq Moore
  4. Kyle Schneider
  5. Nick Caringi
  6. Joel Worthington
  7. Randy Zangara
  8. Brandon Pardoe (WAHS Head High School Principal)
  9. Sean McCann (WAHS Athletic Director)

With the assertions “District states: here is the list of district employees, coaches, and volunteers who either accompanied the team to Myrtle Beach or were present as parents. WASD further added Number 7 (Randy Zangara listed above) was a volunteer statistician.”

WASD affirms in writing Zangara “either accompanied the team to Myrtle Beach”.

Was this in fact the case?

 

NO ROOM LIST AND NO CHAPERONES

As part of the Appeal from RTKL Denial of Williamsport Area School District undertaken by Fox Sports Williamsport filed with the OOR on August 8, 2019, the WASD under the penalty of perjury offered the following answers from Wanda Erb, in an affidavit on October 8, 2019:

I, Wanda Erb, hereby declare, pursuant to 18 Pa. CS 4904, that the following statements are true and correct based upon my personal knowledge information and belief:

1. I serve as the Open Records Officer for the Williamsport Area School District (“Agency”) and am responsible for responding to Right-to-Know requests field with the Agency.

2. In my capacity as the Open Records Officer, I am familiar with the records of the Agency.

6. Regarding Requestor’s fourth request, all of the chaperones on the trip were district employees, coaches, or volunteer coaches. No other adult chaperones accompanied the baseball team to Myrtle Beach.

WASD again admits in writing no other adult chaperones accompanied the baseball team to Myrtle Beach other than 6 or 7 adults who were district employees, coaches, or volunteer coaches, plus two administrators with players on the team.

WASD RTK Officer, Wanda Erb asserts under the penalty of perjury, “No other adult chaperones accompanied the baseball team to Myrtle Beach.”

So with no adult chaperones and only the WASD district employees, coaches, or volunteer coaches, plus two administrators why was there no room assignment list outlining where each student athlete and coach was staying at the Atlantica Resort?

If there was no room assignment list, how did the WASD safeguard and monitor every floor a student was on?

A room assignment list was one of the first items Fox Sports Williamsport requested in the Right-to-Know Law process.

From the June 17, 2019 RTKL Request

2). The hotel room assignments as outlined by the WASD Baseball Coaching Staff for the baseball team trip to Myrtle Beach during the 2017-2018 school year.

WASD Responded in the July 18, 2019 RTKL denial

  1. Hotel room assignments – Denied because no record exists.

The WASD Baseball team trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina did not have a hotel room assignment list at the Atlantica Resort with no adult chaperones and only the district employees, coaches, or volunteer coaches.

Fox Sports Williamsport has independently confirmed the two administrators did not stay on property at the Atlantica Resort.

Fox Sports Williamsport appealed the WASD July 18, 2019 RTKL denial

As filed by Terry Mutchler on behalf of Fox Sports Williamsport :

Requester’s position: The District must provide a statement made under penalty of perjury, detailing its good faith effort to ascertain this record. See 65 P.S. § 67.901 (requiring the AORO to undertake a “good faith effort”); see also Hous. Auth. of the City of Pittsburgh v. Van Osciol, 40 A.3d 209, 216 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2012) (unsworn statements are not competent evidence).

Again, Wanda Erb in the October 8, 2019 affidavit offered the following response:

4. Regarding Requestor’s second request, I conducted a thorough examination of files in the possession, custody and control of the Agency for records responsive to the request. As these types of records would be in the possession of the athletic director or head coach, I spoke with WASD Athletic Director Sean McCann and former head baseball coach Ryan Miller. At the time the request was made (6-17-19 original RTK request), neither Mr. McCann nor Mr. Miller had any record identifying which players were assigned to which hotel room. Accordingly, I have made the determination that the records requested are not within the Agency’s possession, custody or control. 

5. Regarding Requestor’s third request, I conducted a thorough examination of files in the possession, custody and control of the Agency for records responsive to the request. As these types of records would be in the possession of the athletic director or head coach, I spoke with WASD Athletic Director Sean McCann and former head baseball coach Ryan Miller. At the time the request was made (6-17-19 original RTK request), neither Mr. McCann nor Mr. Miller had any record that was responsive to the request. I have also contacted members, or former members, of the WASD Baseball Boosters Club, and outside organization not within the control of the Agency. As a result of those efforts, I obtained a bus invoice and a hotel invoice which were provided to Requestor’s counsel although they were not paid for by the Agency.

(Photo courtesy: Atlantica Resort)

Fox Sports Williamsport confirmed there were 10 rooms at the Atlantica Resort, 9 -2 bedroom suites and a single 1 bedroom suite assigned to Ryan Miller and the WASD baseball team.

There were no more than 2 rooms per floor assigned to Ryan Miller and the WASD baseball team.  Rooms were scattered all over the sprawling Atlantica Resort tower.

 

THE ATTACK WAS PRE-MEDITATED

Fox Sports Williamsport has confirmed ALLEGED PERPETRATOR #1 and at least one accomplice were staying in a different room and were granted access to the room of JOHN DOE #1 by those already in his room.

All week the victim is isolated and kept in his room by himself with no adult supervision backed up by no chaperones on the trip already stated under penalty of perjury by WASD.

Fred Holland in the initial e-mail exchange with Fox Sports Williamsport offered the following:  “Near the end of the school year, an incident involving indecent and inappropriate behavior on the part of a baseball player during the team’s spring trip was brought to the attention of District officials.”

Holland continued, “A prompt investigation was done, and appropriate discipline was imposed. By the time the District was aware of the incident, law enforcement officials had already been contacted.”

The aforementioned incident is all captured on video and shared on multiple social media platforms.

 

WHERE IS ATHLETIC DIRECTOR SEAN MCCANN WHILE IN MYRTLE BEACH?

On Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 2:35 p.m. Brandon Pardoe spoke with Sean McCann for 8 minutes on a call that originated in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

According to the phone records of Sean McCann obtained through the RTKL; it is the only call the two WASD administrators share during the Myrtle Beach trip.

The next day Monday, March 26, 2018 at 4:23 p.m. McCann is on the phone with Spectrum Cable for 14 minutes. It is the longest duration call of the Myrtle Beach trip he has as outlined in the phone records provided by WASD in response to the Fox Sports Williamsport RTKL request.

Apparently the cable was not working properly at the rental property McCann was staying in.

McCann also makes calls to local Myrtle Beach golf courses while the WAHS baseball team is in South Carolina.

Fox Sports Williamsport confirmed both McCann and Pardoe signed off on the Mingo Bay Classic Tournament entry form.

Attempts to reach WAHS Athletic Director Sean McCann for this story were unsuccessful.

 

MILLER ACCOMPANIED BY GYM TEACHER CARNEVALE ON MYRTLE BEACH TRIP

Ryan Miller was accompanied by his girlfriend at the time Williamsport Area High School Gym Teacher Alicia (Hess) Carnevale.

17. Regarding Requestor’s sixth request, I conducted a thorough examination of files in the possession, custody and control of the Agency for records responsive to the request. This entailed contacting the Agency’s cellular phone provider and inquiring whether the text of any text message could be recovered as of the date of the request. The provider informed me that the contents of the messages could not be obtained without a court order. The provider was able to produce call and text logs for a certain time period for those district employees whose bills were paid by the district during the course of their employment, including Brandon Pardoe, Sean McCann and Randy Zangara. Further, I reviewed the text messages then existing on the phone of Brandon Pardoe and Sean McCann with their existence. I found nothing responsive to the request. When asked if I could conduct a similar review with Mr. Randy Zangara. Mr. Zangara declined.

As for Ryan Miller, Alicia Carnevale, David Heller, Kyle Schneider, and Nick Caringi, I reviewed the text messages then existing on their phones, with their assistance.  The only message responsive to the request was found on Mr. Heller’s phone and was disclosed in the Agency’s response. Tariq Moore did not respond to efforts to contact him until after the Agency sent its response. His phone is neither owned nor paid for by the district and was not reviewed. Joel Worthington never responded to my efforts to contact him. His phone is neither owned nor paid for by the district and was not reviewed.

“Then existing” refers to actual contents that may have been deleted would require a court order for their retrieval, production and release.

Why did WASD not compel coaches and staff members to provide records that were requested through the RTKL?

If nothing happened in Myrtle Beach why does Fox Sports Williamsport need to obtain a court order for the phone provider to produce records of administrators and coaches on the trip?

Why did WASD produce some records for the same period for McCann and Zangara and no records from Pardoe?

 

IS IT THE SAME RYAN MILLER OR JUST COINCIDENCE?

Fox Sports Williamsport obtained an incident report from the Myrtle Beach Police Department that chronicles an incident the day the Williamsport Baseball Team arrived in Myrtle Beach.

Fox Sports Williamsport is updating this portion of the story based on new information that has been provided since the initial publication on 12-29-19.

The incident report also outlines the arrest of a 43-year old person who allegedly assaulted an unknown female on the beach and was observed by Ryan Miller and others from a hotel balcony.

The room number and hotel have been asked for and not yet provided by the legal counsel of Ryan Miller who contacted Fox Sports Williamsport after the publication of PART V of this series of articles.

The arrest of the 43 year old male was made the day after as the incident report on March 25, 2019.

According to Lycoming County Court records, a date of birth attributed to Ryan Miller would have made him 30 years at the time, which matches the age of the male witness listed on incident report.

The name of the female victim in the case is redacted from the incident report.

The address listed where the incident occurred is 450 feet from the Atlantica Resort where the team was staying.

According to page 3 of the incident report:

N A R R A T I V E ON 03/24/2018 AT APPROXIMATELY 1600 HRS

I (OFFICER REDACTED) RESPONDED TO THE AREA OF 16TH AVE N ON THE BEACH IN REFERENCE TO AN ASSAULT.

UPON ARRIVAL I SPOKE WITH THE VICTIM WHO STATED SHE WAS HANGING OUT WITH THE OFFENDER ALL MORNING, AND LEFT AT APPROXIMATELY 1500 HRS TO GO TO THE LIBRARY. SHE THEN STATED WHEN SHE RETURNED AT APPROXIMATELY 1600 HRS THE OFFENDER WAS PASSED OUT.

SHE STATED THAT THE OFFENDER HAD BEEN DRINKING HEAVILY ALL DAY.

SHE STATED HE WAS VERY ANGRY WHEN SHE WOKE HIM UP, AND ALSO STATED WHEN SHE POURED OUT HIS VODKA HE STARTED PUSHING HER.

SHE THEN STATED THE OFFENDER GRABBED HER HANDS AND SLAMMED HER HAND INTO THE WOODEN BEACH ACCESS HAND RAIL.

SHE STATED SHE STARTED RUNNING SOUTH ON THE BEACH TO GET AWAY FROM THE OFFENDER, AND HE WAS CHASING HER.

SHE STATED AFTER A SHORT TIME SHE WAS ABLE TO GET AWAY FROM THE OFFENDER.

THE WITNESS STATED HE SAW THE OFFENDER PUNCH AND PUSH THE VICTIM. HE ALSO STATED THAT BOTH THE VICTIM, AND OFFENDER WERE YELLING AND ARGUING. HE THEN STATED HE SAW THE OFFENDER START TO CHASE THE VICTIM.

HE ALSO STATED THE OFFENDER APPEARED VERY INTOXICATED.

THE OFFENDER WAS UNABLE TO BE LOCATED AT THE TIME OF THE INCIDENT. I SOUGHT WARRANTS FOR THE OFFENDER ARREST FOR ASSAULT 3RD (REDACTED).

ON 03/25/2018 THE OFFENDER WAS LOCATED AND ARRESTED BY (REDACTED).

Attempts to reach Ryan Miller and Alicia (Hess) Carnevale for comment on this aspect of the story were unsuccessful.

The case was marked closed on March 30, 2018 on the incident report.

As mandatory reporters, was the allure of a romantic getaway more important than protecting minors in their charge given the shortage of adult supervision and chaperones?

Was the phone call between McCann and Pardoe to discuss what happened in regard to the arrest on March 25, 2018?

A link to the pregnancy gift registry for Alicia (Hess) Carnevale and Ryan Miller is provided.

 

WITH NO ONE WATCHING BAD THINGS HAPPEN

Multiple sources have confirmed to Fox Sports Williamsport that a member of the Williamsport Millionaires baseball team sought out individuals in Myrtle Beach for the purpose of obtaining an illegal substance.

That transaction then led to the substance being brought back to a team hotel room also being occupied by other members of the Williamsport Millionaires baseball team.

Upon those student athletes returning to their room, they discovered the illegal substance in plain sight and then immediately contacted their parents who then came to the room.

Upon the parents observing the illegal substance it was immediately destroyed.

At that point the school leadership on the trip was made aware of what had transpired.

One of the parents of a student athlete who discovered the illegal substance sought out volunteer assistant coach on the trip, Nick Caringi.

Caringi who is a long standing Little League International employee also had a son on the trip, who is now a Division 1 scholarship baseball player at St. Bonaventure.

Sources speaking on the condition of anonymity shared that they told Caringi about the illegal substance and he then said “he didn’t want to hear anymore” and sought out head coach Miller, AD McCann and Principal Pardoe.

Why did Caringi not just call the Myrtle Beach Police?

The student athlete who originally possessed the illegal substance was confronted with the allegations and offered a full confession of what had transpired.

At that point he was removed from the Williamsport Millionaires baseball team. At least one parent of the student athlete was also present when the confession and punishment were handed down in Myrtle Beach.

The Williamsport Area School District solicitor was previously contacted for this story, and offered the following in response to the statement and question below.

It has come to my attention that another student athlete was removed from the baseball team while on the Myrtle Beach trip for acquiring and possessing an illegal substance.

Can you confirm the validity of this?

“Hello, Todd. The District has no comment.” Fred A. Holland

As a follow-up Holland was asked the following question and provided this response as noted,

So the WASD is not denying the validity of the report?

“The District has no comment.” Fred A. Holland

As of this writing Myrtle Beach law enforcement authorities have no record of this incident they can provide Fox Sports Williamsport.

According to phone records obtained through the RTKL process, on March 27, 2018 at 9:06 a.m. then Head Coach Ryan Miller had an 11 minute phone conversation with Volunteer Assistant Coach Randy Zangara.

 

“INDECENT AND INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR”

In August of 2018, Fox Sports Williamsport received the following from the Williamsport Area High School Solicitor Fred Holland, of the local law firm Holland Murphy, Butterfield, & Holland, P.C. in response to a request for information for the original Millionaire Mayhem story:

“Hello, Todd.

Near the end of the school year, an incident involving indecent and inappropriate behavior on the part of a baseball player during the team’s spring trip was brought to the attention of District officials. A prompt investigation was done, and appropriate discipline was imposed. By the time the District was aware of the incident, law enforcement officials had already been contacted.”

As a follow-up, Fox Sports Williamsport reached out to the Lycoming County District Attorney’s Office for comment on the story at the time and received the following from the lead attorney for juvenile cases, Jeff Yates:

“Mr. Bartley: Based on case law and the Juvenile Act I cannot respond to your inquiry.”

South Carolina law enforcement officials retain jurisdiction in any potential criminal complaint since that is where the incidents occurred.

Are taxpayers who fund the largest school district by size of student population and operating budget in Lycoming County entitled to a definition of indecent and inappropriate behavior on the part of a baseball player during the team’s 2018 spring trip?

In the 2017-2018 Safe Schools reports filed by the Williamsport Area School District with the Pennsylvania Department of Education “0” was the response for Indecent Assaults occurring during that time period.

 

THE COVER-UP BEGINS IN MYRTLE BEACH

As previously noted with the nephew of Brandon Pardoe in the room during one of the indecent assaults; the motive to keep things quiet until the team returned home was in play.

Another factor is that a local criminal defense attorney George Lepley was on the trip as a grandfather and a Hall of Fame (Williamsport) West End Babe Ruth Baseball Coach.

Multiple sources on the trip and who spoke on the condition of anonymity shared conversations after the indecent assaults that Miller, Pardoe and Lepley let players know to keep quiet and not to say anything until they got back to Williamsport.

According to phone records obtained by Fox Sports Williamsport through RTKL requests; on March 29, 2018 at 10:25 a.m. Head Coach Ryan Miller had a 21 minute call with Randy Zangara who is not in Myrtle Beach on the trip.

In a game played that day at noon in Myrtle Beach, Williamsport lost to Robinson High School 3-2.

The Zangara call is followed the same day at 2:56 p.m. with a 33 minute Zangara call to Brandon Pardoe; which is followed immediately by a Zangara voicemail to Head Coach Ryan Miller at 3:29 p.m.

Miller calls Zangara back 4:03 p.m. and they speak for 20 minutes.

The next day, at 9:56 p.m. Zangara and Miller have back-to-back calls lasting 5 minutes.

Upon returning to Williamsport from Myrtle Beach, Randy Zangara calls Head Coach Ryan Miller on April 2, 2018 and they speak for 16 minutes.

Did any member of the WASD travel party or administrators on the trip ever call the Myrtle Beach Police Department about anything that occurred during this trip?