DURHAM, NH -- Police said they are looking into allegations made by a parent of a baseball player in the Oyster River Youth Association (ORYA), who claims two coaches conspired on a plan to injure his daughter in an attempt to intimidate her and force her to quit the league.
Durham Deputy Police Chief Rene Kelly said the department is aware of the situation, but as of Tuesday had not decided whether to launch an investigation.
In an email to ORYA board of directors Chair Ben Genes, Dan Klein, of Madbury, alleges that two coaches said they would instruct a player to “bean” Klein’s daughter -- strike her in the head with a baseball during practice -- in order to intimidate her into leaving the baseball program. The conversation allegedly took place during a draft meeting to assign players to team rosters. That meeting was held, according to Klein’s email, on March 21 at Libby’s Bar & Grill in Durham.
According to Klein, his 11-year-old daughter is the only girl enrolled to play on a team in her division. He said in the email he was informed his daughter was the last player drafted.
The email, dated April 7, was also sent to several members of the ORYA board of directors, the Madbury Select Board, Durham Town Council and Oyster River Cooperative School District Board, Lee town administrators, Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig and Durham Parks and Recreation Director Rachel Gasowski.
Klein said he was made aware of the alleged conversation by two other coaches who also attended the draft meeting -- Troy Brisard and Kirk O’Quinn -- who found the discussion about Klein’s daughter to be inappropriate. Klein said O’Quinn agreed to put Klein’s daughter onto his roster.
In a phone interview with Seacoast Media Group on Tuesday, Klein said he did not reach out to police, nor is he necessarily seeking any retribution against the accused coaches.
“I’m not on the board -- it’s not my place to say what’s right for them,” Klein said. “I hope that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again, and that kids will be protected from this sort of language and be safe.”
ORYA Director Matthew Glode said the association is conducting an investigation into the alleged comments.
“In fairness to everyone involved, we have no further comment until the investigation is completed,” Glode said in an email.
Klein said his daughter has played baseball and T-ball with ORYA since 2012 and has enjoyed it, mostly without incident. When she began playing, Klein said, she had several teammates who were girls, but that number dwindled over the years as many girls her age switched to softball.
Klein said he has served ORYA in various capacities over the years, including as a coach. He said he is not now involved in ORYA in any capacity other than being the parent of a participant. In his email, he referenced a 2015 quarrel he said he had with an ORYA board member that may have led to lingering animosity, and as a result, motivated the alleged threats against his daughter last month.
In a recent email chain forwarded to Seacoast Media Group, Genes wrote to Klein thanking him for coming forward with the complaint concerning his daughter.
“ORYA will immediately address the incident in our baseball program and move to ensure our program is 100% compliant with our policies,” Genes wrote in the email, dated April 8. “I will contact Troy (Brisard) and Kirk (O’Quinn) to followup on the details referenced. Please let me know if you have any questions.”
In an email to Selig dated April 9, Genes said that the ORYA board had already “taken specific action” related to Klein’s complaint, but it is not known what that action is and whether it is the investigation Glode said was underway.
″(Such) that all sports activities for his daughter are safe and welcoming,” Genes wrote. “We are now beginning a formal investigation into the incident as per our policies and procedures and will provide a summary followup to all our stakeholders.”
Email messages left on Tuesday for Genes, Brisard and O’Quinn, seeking further comment were not returned. Their phone numbers were not immediately available.