A Carbon High School assistant football coach is charged with assault in connection with an altercation following a Carbon-Springville football game earlier this month.
LaFoga Lalu Jr., 34, of Price, is facing one count of simple assault, a class B misdemeanor. The charge was issued Thursday by Utah County Attorney Steven Killpack. Lalu is not a Carbon teacher but a paid coaching assistant at the Price school.The charge comes on the heels of sanctions recently imposed against LaLu and other Carbon officials by the Region 8 board of managers, a governing body comprised of the principals of the league's eight member schools. Both Carbon and Springville are members of Region 8.
The charge and sanctions stem from a Oct. 7 post-game incident in which Springvillle assistant coach Jim Young was blindsided by a punch while pulling a referee away from a crowd upset with the officiating in Carbon's 19-14 loss. The single blow to Young's face fractured his cheekbone and knocked him unconscious for several minutes.
The sanctions imposed by the region include Lalu being restricted from any coaching through the 1989-90 school year, a $200 fine imposed on the school and letters of reprimand being sent to Carbon Principal Larry Leonard and Carbon Coach Don Gressman. A stipulation of Lalu's suspension is that he must petition the governing board of managers of any Utah region in which he may wish to coach after his two-year suspension.
Payson High Principal Cary Bailey declined to disclose the purpose or contents of the reprimand letters to Leonard and Gressman. Bailey is serving as interim director of the region's board of managers while the incident is being reviewed, with Springville Principal Denis Poulsen temporarily stepping aside as director because of his school's involvement.
Since the region's managers tried to follow Utah High School Activities Association bylaws in conducting their review and issuing penalties, Bailey has requested that the incident also be reviewed by the association, with the matter placed on the upcoming agenda of the UHSAA board of directors. "We felt that they ought to review the incident since it is the board of directors that directs our board of managers," he said.
If found guilty of the simple assault charge, Lalu could face maximum penalties of a six-month jail sentence and a $600 fine, said Killpack. He added that the reported incident did not meet the definition of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, which requires an apparent intention to cause serious bodily injury.