Mahomet-Seymour junior high wrestling coach investigated for 'inappropriate contact'

Mahomet-Seymour junior high wrestling coach investigated for 'inappropriate contact'

MAHOMET — A wrestling coach at Mahomet-Seymour Junior High School has been terminated after he allegedly smacked his players' genitals to motivate them.

Mahomet-Seymour Superintendent Keith Oates said Theo Plothe, who had been a coach since the beginning of this wrestling season and was not a teacher, is no longer in that position.

Mahomet Police Chief Mike Metzler said school district administrators contacted him on Tuesday about an incident that was witnessed by an assistant coach during a wrestling meet in Orion in Henry County, just south of Moline.

Oates said district officials also notified the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Metzler said Plothe, who was employed by the school district, was believed to have struck his athletes in the genitals with his hand before they took the mat, in an apparent attempt to motivate them.

"The incident was witnessed by an assistant coach who thought it was inappropriate, reported it to his superiors, who talked to one athlete, and learned that there were potentially others who had had the same sort of inappropriate contact," Metzler said.

Metzler said none of the wrestlers were inclined to report the behavior themselves to any adults. He said nothing in what police have heard suggested there was anything sexual about the contact. Metzler said there was also no evidence that similar contact ever happened in Mahomet.

"It was an isolated incident," he said.

"We have interviewed several of the athletes," said Metzler, who said the reports have not been finished. Police also interviewed the coach and the assistant who witnessed the contact.

Metzler said he planned to forward the reports to the Henry County sheriff's office early next week and let them complete the investigation since the alleged incidents happened at the Orion junior high school.

Comments

Comments for this post are read only.

RussellG wrote on February 03, 2012 at 9:02 am

What? Have you ever seen the player/coach interaction of a highschool sport? it is the most homoerotic thing youre going to see throughout the entire school. It's not harassment, it's not ment to cause any harm, it does exactly what it was intended to do. The old fashion "Good Game" smack on the @ss has been around far to long for people to start crying now.

I see how people COULD view this as an issue, but its NOT. Firing a man for being a coach is just wrong. He didnt rape anyone, he didnt hurt anyone, I dont see how this is grounds or firing.

Knowledge wrote on February 03, 2012 at 9:02 am

Ummm...RussellG, you might want to re-read the above article. Nowhere does it say that the coach smacked the kids on the buttocks. It says "Genitals." Surely, if this is true, I would hope it changes your view on the "Good Game Smack?"

Fromthearea wrote on February 03, 2012 at 9:02 am

Are you kidding?  He touched their genitals!!!!!  Oh my gawd!  Really?  I suppose "they asked for it" too.  This isn't some tv show on MTV here, this is a junior high school.  Eleven and twelve year olds.  I'm just surprised it went on for so long and this comment is still up.

kaw wrote on February 03, 2012 at 10:02 am

RusselG, think about it.  He wasn't fired for "being a coach," as you say.  He was fired for NOT being a coach.  A coach does not make inappropriate contact with his students.  (Penn State ring any bells with you?)  And while Mary Schenck has written an excellent article about a possible criminal situation, please keep in mind that there might be a lot more to this story than what appears in the Gazette.  God bless the assistant coach who obviously has his head on straight and is watching out for the kids. 

dw wrote on February 03, 2012 at 9:02 am

Look up the definition of genitals sometime and you'll find they're not talking about your fanny... unless you're female from the UK.  The coach was busting their bollocks, and not in the figurative sense.

A hearty congratulatory smack on the buttocks has largly been replaced by the high-five, as any male coach of highschool girls sports already knows...

wayward wrote on February 03, 2012 at 9:02 am

Sounds like the assistant coach did exactly what he was supposed to do -- reported behavior that he found inappropriate to DCFS.  Good for him.

champ17 wrote on February 03, 2012 at 10:02 am

HOW DO YOU SMACK SOMEONE GENTIALS TO MOTIVATE THEM... I THINK HE'S READY FOR IDOC... COME ON MARY SCHENK PUT HIM ON BLAST !!!

susselsprout wrote on February 03, 2012 at 11:02 am

I think it should go without saying that unless you are specifically invited to touch another person's breasts, genitals, or buttocks, you shouldn't.  Being an adult in a supervisory position does not grant that person the right to "motivate" anyone by violating his/her HIGHLY personal space even if that person think permission is implied given the high contact nature of wrestling. A pat on the back from coach to kid should suffice.

vnp wrote on February 03, 2012 at 12:02 pm

This is to all the kids in Mahomet who may be reading this:  DO NOT BE AFRAID TO REPORT ANYTHING THAT FEELS WRONG FROM AN ADULT.  Please, kids, report to a trusted adult, a teacher, parent, neighbor, police, just report it!  You will NOT get into trouble for telling a trusted adult. I promise!

urbananative wrote on February 03, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Don't high school wrestlers wear athletic cups? I've never been super-comfortable with the butt smack with any combination of gender, but I've certainly seen it. But if there's a cup there it's certainly a lot less personal (and painful) than if there was no cup. 

urbananative wrote on February 03, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Don't high school wrestlers wear athletic cups? I've never been super-comfortable with the butt smack with any combination of gender, but I've certainly seen it. But if there's a cup there it's certainly a lot less personal (and painful) than if there was no cup. 

kaw wrote on February 03, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Seriously?  You think it's okay to touch a boy's genitalia?  Cup or no cup?  Do you also think a bra is protective gear and therefore it's appropriate to touch a female in this way?  Where on earth do you draw the line on decency?  Or do you have a line?

MSP wrote on February 03, 2012 at 1:02 pm

There is no excuse for such behavior.  The team deserves a respectful and supportive Coach who knows how to treat children.  Thank goodness the assistant reported it and did not allow such behavior to continue.  Maybe MSJH should consider hiring there educators for coaching positions who the parents and children know and can trust.  Sending these children off to out of town tourniments without school officials is just asking for trouble.  I feel bad for these boys who love wrestling  and have had there season turn into a disaster!

kathys94 wrote on February 03, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Did you know that their Assistant Principal who is also AD was in Orion and has attended other out of town functions?  Don't assume everything about MS District that they should do this or that when they are always involved with the activities of their students and community.o

MSP wrote on February 03, 2012 at 4:02 pm

The above NG article states that the coach was doing this behavior when the boys were approaching the mat so the official should have seen it first hand and the assistant should not have had to report it.  Thats why I didn't think a school official was there.    I just remember when I was in school all the coaches were teachers or P.E. teachers not just someone off the street.  They knew the the kids and parents from school.  I would like to believe that all schools are putting the kids safety first.  I'm not trying to judge anyone just stating my opinion as others do.  

kathys94 wrote on February 03, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Yes, there is rear end smacking in sports, but I do think there is a difference between rear end and genitals.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE re-read the story and understand that there were several boys involved including one boy who was slapped across the face.  That report was given to the school after the coach had been terminated on Monday, but that student has been added to the investigation and filed his statement with MPD and DCFS.  This is *NOT* an isolated incident of one student, but many.  Feelings and emotions are hypersensitive in Mahomet over the past week, but when students are inappropriately touched, they are affected in more ways than one.  FIND OUT THE FACTS before judging and jumping to conclusions.

vnp wrote on February 03, 2012 at 2:02 pm

conclusions???   the article (after re-reading) CLEARLY states genitals......now you re-read and get facts!  And feelings and emotions the past week have NOTHING to do with kids being touched inapproxately!!  That's just an excuse!

Interested wrote on February 03, 2012 at 3:02 pm

VPN, I think she's saying that those who are saying this is an over-reaction should re-read the article and think about what they're reading. She probably agrees with you.

jhilding wrote on February 03, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Maybe the coach took it as acceptable after viewing the Sunday sports page of this fine publication where there was a picture of a football player with a hand full of his, um stuff.  Added to the picture of a young girl vomiting and falling out of her shirt on the front page this summer, this is a paper that could really use an editorial staff to approve a few things before they land on our doorstep. 

vetchic wrote on February 03, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Just wait 2 or 3 days for Ms. Schenk to get all of HER facts straightened out then she will change the article a few times. I'm starting to understand that she gets some of the facts, writes the story then changes it as all the facts come in.

Interested wrote on February 03, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Her facts are based on the police report and interviews described in the article. She's a reporter, not in investigator.

crackerman wrote on February 03, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Don't you know, genital slapping is the new fist bump!

Chambana_Dude wrote on February 03, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I know personally, nothing motivates me more than a good genital smack. 

Always Yours,

Chambana Dude