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Wednesday, June 7, 2017: Yorktown probes harassment allegation, report says

   Leading off today: Somers girls lacrosse players have accused members of the Yorktown boys lacrosse of harassment and intimidation at the Section 1 girls Class B championship game last month, reported.

   In one of several statements released Tuesday, Somers Central School District administrators said the girls lacrosse team was preparing for the May 25 game in a Yorktown locker room when members of the Yorktown boys lacrosse team entered and "engaged in harassing and intimidating behavior," which caused the girls to relocate to a different locker room, the website reported.

   "Unfortunately, what should have been a day showcasing the competitive-spirit, athletic abilities and sportsmanship of both teams, was marred by the rude and disrespectful behavior of certain students," Superintendent Dr. Raymond Blanch said in the statement.

   Messages left at Yorktown for Superintendent Ralph Napolitano and AD Fio Nardone were not immediately returned, the website said. The Yorktown boys are scheduled to play Garden City in the NYSPHSAA Class B semifinals Wednesday night at SUNY Albany.

   Blanch said the two districts have shared a "long history of positive experiences" and that Somers administrators "know very well that (Yorktown administrators) remain committed to upholding the highest standards of sportsmanship."

   Blanch said conversations were conducted with Yorktown school officials and information was also shared with Section 1. He said Yorktown is in the final stages of its own investigation, and upon its conclusion a meeting "to determine our next collective steps" will be arranged.

   Coach hired: Veteran college assistant Pat Clarke is the new Nichols boys basketball coach, the Buffalo school announced.

   Clarke, 52, left his position as coach of four sports and AD at Archbishop Walsh to join Jim Baron's staff at St. Bonaventure in 1999 and followed him to Rhode Island in 2001 and Canisius College in 2012, first as director of basketball operations and later as an assistant coach. He is currently the director of athletic facilities at Canisius College.

   He succeeds Darren Fenn, who stepped down at Nichols this spring.

   "Nichols has such a reputation academically, and with basketball just the fact they're in the Monsignor Martin (Association) is second to none," Clarke said in a statement from the school. "It just seemed like a great opportunity."

   All-state RB killed: Former Jamesville-Dewitt football star Rasheed Baker was killed Monday night in a shooting in Syracuse.

   Baker, 21, was selected to the all-state second team in Class A as a running back in 2013. He also played basketball for J-D.

   The 911 dispatch center received several calls about a shooting at about 11:20 p.m. Monday. Police and paramedics found Baker and transported him to Upstate University Hospital, where he died from gunshot injuries, reported.

   An Onondaga Community College spokesman said Baker was enrolled in summer classes and was a handful of credits away from earning an associate degree.

   Not so fast: Former NFL running back Ray Rice isn't going to be an assistant coach for the New Rochelle football team just yet, a local website reported.

   A photo surfaced of Rice assisting at a spring workout last week, but inquiries to the school district by resulted in the disclosure that the former Rutgers and Baltimore Ravens star, whose career was derailed by a highly publicized domestic violence incident, lacks the required certifications required for coaches.

   After reports that Rice was being added to the coaching staff following three seasons as a volunteer assistant, the website filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the school district to obtain documentation related to the hiring.

   "There should be a job application, paperwork related to a background check, his certification as an athletic coach in New York State, board resolutions, an offer letter or contract and so forth. I would like to obtain all such records," the website wrote in the FOIA request.

   In reply, New Rochelle Board of Education Clerk Lisdalia Saraiva stated:

   "Please be advised that we do not have any such records, such as 'job application, paperwork related to a background check, his certification as an athletic coach in


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  • New York State, board resolutions, an offer letter or contract and so forth', as Ray Rice has not been appointed to a position in the City School District of New Rochelle."

       Whether paid or volunteer, a scholastic sports coach must file a job application and submit to a background check by the New York State Education Department's Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability, the website reported. Other requirements include completing first aid certification and a series of coaching courses.

       Police blotter: Livonia girls volleyball coach Kristin Hierlwimmer, 52, was arrested early Sunday morning in York after State Police said she was driving while intoxicated, Rochester-area media reported Tuesday.

       State Police said they pulled over Hierlwimmer's car on Route 63 shortly before 1 a.m. after observing the vehicle doing 72 mph in a 55 mph zone. She was interviewed and subsequently arrested for DWI. Police said a breathalyzer test registered a .12 BAC.

       Hierlwimmer, who teaches at Nazareth Elementary School in Livonia, is scheduled to return to court June 19, WHAM-TV reported.

       New twist to N.J. story: Federal immigration authorities have opened a new front in the investigation of Paterson (N.J.) Eastside's basketball programs, NJ Advance Media reported Tuesday.

       The state's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, is exploring the pipeline of international players who fed the high school's powerful boys and girls teams the past six years, according to school district sources.

       NJ Advance Media published a series of reports early this year uncovering how players from Africa, South America and Puerto Rico had been stocking Eastside's rosters since at least 2011.

       "This means the federal government understands there's human trafficking going on here," said Charles Kuck, an Atlanta-based immigration attorney who has followed the case. "This is nothing short of human trafficking.

       "It might be disguised under the blanket of basketball players, but the reality is when you're bringing people from other parts of the world to the United States for purposes other than what are legitimate, you are committing human trafficking."

       At least eight Eastside players arrived from Nigeria and Paraguay since 2011, many living with coaches and others with ties to the basketball programs. The district has been unable to produce proper immigration documents for foreign students, which placed the athletes at risk of being deported.

       Alvin Phillips, spokesman for ICE in New Jersey, said he could not "confirm or deny an investigation into this matter."

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