Players of Bartholomew McInerney, the former baseball coach at St. Rose High School in Belmar, NJ, can finally move on with their lives.
McInerney, also known as “Coach Bart,” pleaded guilty to 10 counts of child endangerment, bringing to an end a case that has dragged the St. Rose community through scandal for the past seven years.
McInerney will not have to register as a sex offender, as he agreed to a low-level fourth-degree offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 25 in Middlesex County Superior Court.
Prosecutors alleged McInerney encouraged and sometimes paid his players to pleasure themselves, as well as report on their sexual activities through text messages. Prosecutors alleged this was for McInerney’s own pleasure, but McInerney’s lawyers argued that he did it to help the boys abstain from premarital sex.
McInerney’s lawyer, Edward Bertucio, told the Asbury Park Press, that McInerney wanted to get the case behind him and allow the players affected by his actions to do the same. “He had the best of intentions, but he realized he wasn’t the person to give the advice he was giving.”
On the stand, McInerney said that the conversations should have been between his underage players and their parents or health professional.
Allegations of McInerney’s misconduct first surfaced in 2007 after he took a number of St. Rose baseball players to tournaments in Alaska and Hawaii. In 2008, Andrew M. Clark, the first of McInerney’s players to speak to investigators about his coach’s alleged misconduct, was killed after he stepped in front of an oncoming train. Clark’s family sued McInerney, St. Rose and the Diocese of Trenton, alleging wrongful death, and were subsequently awarded $900,000.
McInerney’s was initially found guilty of child endangerment in 2010. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison, but an appeals court threw out his conviction, ruling that a judge had given improper instructions to the jury.