A football coach at Helix Charter High School was charged with a misdemeanor count of battery and sentenced to community service for punching a 15-year-old student athlete on the practice field in October 2018.
Anthony Larceval, 28, was originally charged with five counts that included felony child abuse and battery with serious bodily injury. He admitted to hitting Joshua Meredith, a freshman player at the time, during practice.
In October of 2018, shortly after the incident, Larceval was fired and Meredith’s parents told NBC 7 that pervasive bullying of their son ensued on campus and social media. They said students called him a "snitch" after his parents reported the bullying to the school.
“Everybody he went for help to didn't help him. It always went back to toughen up. There’s nothing we can do about bullies. We can try to get everyone together. We can talk about it," said Fran Meredith, Joshua’s father.
A prosecutor in the case sighted "various factors" for the plea deal including Larceval's standing in the community and his past coaching experience.
On Wednesday, Meredith’s parents told NBC 7 Larceval’s punishment was a slap on the wrist considering the emotional and physical damage he caused to their son.
“A slap on the hand or whatever. That's for a punch in my son's face that affected his jaw and his teeth, his entire life. He’s still growing and he still has to have that on his shoulders," said Fran Meredith.
The family told NBC 7 that Joshua has had to have dental work done to repair the damage caused from the attack. They claim the school’s counselor had suggested Joshua be homeschooled, but that was denied by the Helix High principal. Joshua is attending a different high school as of Fall 2019.
A judge called the coach's actions "totally inappropriate" but sentenced him to 25 hours of community service. Larceval has already served more than 100 hours of community service since the incident, bringing an end to the criminal case.
Meanwhile, Larceval has been named in a civil suit filed by the Merediths that also names Helix High School. He declined to comment to NBC 7.
Helix High School sent the following statement:
“While Helix Charter High School is not at liberty to discuss confidential personnel matters regarding current or former employees, please be assured that the school takes any complaints against personnel seriously and performs fair and thorough investigations of any such matters.
The school’s actions in such matters are guided by what is lawful and, of course, in the best interest of its students.”