BREAKING NEWS: District Attorney Gardner refers Myrtle Beach case to PA Attorney General

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 XV

By Todd Bartley, Fox Sports Williamsport

Todd@Foxsportswilliamsport.com

570-327-1300

LYCOMING COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY RYAN GARDNER:

A VIDEO DEPICTING CRIMINAL SEXUAL MISCONDUCT DOES EXIST

As each chapter of the now 15-Part series “A Baseball Story In The Birthplace Of Little League Baseball” unfolded, Fox Sports Williamsport reached out to Lycoming County District Attorney Ryan Gardner for comment on multiple occasions.

His office has refrained from publicly commenting on this series of articles and this case.

Until now.

Gardner sent the following to Fox Sports Williamsport earlier this evening in response to a request for comment on the recently published PART XIV of this series.

 

PRESS RELEASE

Prior to taking office in January, it was difficult to ignore the many questions surrounding the alleged sexual misconduct by a member of the WASD baseball team during an organized team tournament held in South Carolina. The sexual misconduct was reportedly captured on video. It was further suggested that more than one video existed that potentially depicted additional sexual misconduct committed upon one or more other unnamed victims/teammates.

Within the first two weeks after taking office, the newly appointed Chief County Detective, Michael Simpler, and I traveled to the home of the alleged minor victim to meet with the Mother and discuss the incident that occurred in South Carolina. The victim’s Mother did provide details consistent with previously published articles regarding the subject matter including, but not limited to, information verified by the video possessed by the District Attorney’s Office. At the conclusion of the meeting with the Mother, it was impressed upon her that no further action would be undertaken until and unless she made the juvenile available for a face-to-face interview. Despite several attempts by Chief Simpler to contact the Mother, she did not return the Chief’s calls.

Since that time, I did speak with a civil attorney retained by Mother on behalf of the juvenile. The juvenile’s attorney stated that the juvenile will be made available for a face-to-face interview with this office. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has significantly hampered the efforts to conduct the face-to-face interview of the juvenile.

Despite the logistical inability to interview the juvenile due to COVID-19, this office in the interim has confirmed the following:

1. A video depicting criminal sexual misconduct does exist. Pursuant to information received, this video originated in South Carolina with subsequent possession, dissemination and viewing of same potentially occurring in the state of Pennsylvania.

2. Because the sexual misconduct occurred in the state of South Carolina, the filing of any criminal charges against the actor depicted in the video for the act itself must be filed in South Carolina.

3. Follow up interviews were conducted with other juveniles alleged to have been victimized. The follow up interviews with these juveniles and their parents did not reveal any additional criminal misconduct.

Although the sexual misconduct at issue occurred in South Carolina, the subsequent investigation conducted by one or more WASD Administrators and the Lycoming County Detectives Office coupled with the potential involvement of a local law firm has deservedly drawn intense scrutiny by both the media and the public. Despite all of this occurring prior to me assuming office in January, the appearance of impartiality was severely compromised due to the previous joint investigative efforts by school administration and this office. In order to provide all parties involved the assurance of impartiality and to avoid the potential of any conflict, I am hereby referring this matter to the Office of Attorney General. Pending the referral of this matter to the Office of the Attorney General and to avoid compromising any further investigation that may be conducted by that Office, no further comment will be made at this time.

Ryan C. Gardner

District Attorney

Lycoming County

 

Fox Sports Williamsport has contacted the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro for comment on the referral. At the time of this publication there has yet to be a response.

 

FOX SPORTS WILLIAMSPORT ORIGINAL RTK REQUESTS

Fox Sports Williamsport previously made a number of Right to Know Law requests to obtain certain documents and information in this case. The WASD took the approach very early on to stonewall those requests as noted in PART I, which also a outlines the list of coaches and staff who had oversight of the team in Myrtle Beach.

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.”

 

MYRTLE BEACH JURISDICTION OF THE INDECENT ACT CONFIRMED BY D.A. GARDNER

2. Because the sexual misconduct occurred in the state of South Carolina, the filing of any criminal charges against the actor depicted in the video for the act itself must be filed in South Carolina.

 

From PART XIII, Williamsport Head High School Principal, Brandon Pardoe in a phone conversation with Detective Aiesi of the MBPD in Septmber 2018:

A: Like I said, my name is Detective Aiesi

A: That’s Aie, s is in Sam – i – and I’m with the Myrtle Beach Police Department down here in South Carolina. And my office line, my direct office line is 843-REDACTED

P: And Detective, you know, I just think its best that you speak to Agent Weber, just because of the you know I think he can fill you in best as to what the ins and outs are of this case being he did investigate it here on our end.

I know its in your jurisdiction but certainly he’s the one that pry can give you the best information.

A: So as far as you know, he’s been the investigating officer

P: Yes

A: Wonderful, alright then that’s who we will start off with. But I really appreciate your help and um

P: Oh yeah, not a problem

Fox Sports Williamsport has well chronicled the involvement of Pardoe running his own investigation.

 

WAS THERE A COVER-UP?

From the D.A. Gardner Press Release:

Although the sexual misconduct at issue occurred in South Carolina, the subsequent investigation conducted by one or more WASD Administrators and the Lycoming County Detectives Office coupled with the potential involvement of a local law firm has deservedly drawn intense scrutiny by both the media and the public.

Despite all of this occurring prior to me assuming office in January, the appearance of impartiality was severely compromised due to the previous joint investigative efforts by school administration and this office.

 

D.A. GARDNER REFERS THE CASE TO PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL JOSH SHAPIRO

In order to provide all parties involved the assurance of impartiality and to avoid the potential of any conflict, I am hereby referring this matter to the Office of Attorney General. Pending the referral of this matter to the Office of the Attorney General and to avoid compromising any further investigation that may be conducted by that Office, no further comment will be made at this time.

 

If nothing happened in Myrtle Beach in 2018 on the Millionaire Baseball team trip; will Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro finally get the answers?

 

Part XVI is forthcoming.

 

 

LINKS TO 14-PART SERIES PUBLISHED BY FOX SPORTS WILLIAMSPORT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fans often ask me, what if?

Millionaire Baseball Mayhem in Myrtle Beach