Dallastown Area High School's former varsity wrestling coach has been cited with summary disorderly conduct for allegedly encouraging wrestlers to hit a fellow team member.
The citation was filed May 21 after Matthew Striebig, 39, of 2270 Dandridge Road in York Township, made a comment to wrestlers either before or during a practice, according to deputy prosecutor Chuck Murphy.
"One of the wrestlers was, for lack of a better term, passing gas," Murphy said. "The comment was made that if he did it again, other wrestlers could hit him."
At least a couple of students followed through on Striebig's comment, according to the prosecutor, but the investigation was unable to determine how many wrestlers actually hit the youth.
"It was more than one," Murphy said.
The incident happened about 3:30 p.m. Jan. 2 at the high school, according to the citation filed by York Area Regional Police.
Striebig declined comment, saying "It's not a very interesting story."
Taken seriously: Dallastown Area School District Superintendent Ronald Dyer said it's his understanding Striebig's comment wasn't intended to be mean-spirited.
"It was supposed to be lighthearted," Dyer said. "We took it very seriously. It is something we did not condone."
Murphy said he doesn't know whether Striebig was joking or not and said it appears the student wasn't hurt.
"We weren't able to pinpoint any direct injury that was caused by this," he said.
Had the student been hurt, Striebig could have faced more serious criminal charges, Murphy said.
On Friday, Striebig was admitted into the county's diversionary program by District Judge Scott Laird.
His conditions include performing 35 hours of community service, records state.
If Striebig successfully completes the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, his record will be expunged. The ARD program doesn't require defendants to admit guilt.
Internal probe: The school district conducted an extensive internal investigation into the incident, according to Dyer.
It included speaking to students and their parents, he said, adding he was pleased with the cooperation shown by parents.
"We were as thorough as we could be," Dyer said.
Striebig is no longer the high school's wrestling coach, but the superintendent said Striebig's alleged comment had nothing to do with his departure.
"He was leaving anyway due to a family commitment," Dyer said.
- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.