Assault on an sports official could soon carry a heavier penalty

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Some Kansas sports officials are looking to lawmakers for more protection.

A hearing was held Wednesday at the Statehouse where current Kansas officials testified saying they have experienced more harassment from athletes, coaches, family members, and fans in the last few years than ever before.

Jeffrey Bachman has been a Salina sports official for 30 years. Bachman says he has had people follow him after games because they are upset with his calls during the game.

“Several times, to my car, sometimes to the restrooms which is embarrassing,” said Bachman.

A bill is being discussed that would increase the penalty for assault against a sports official.

Currently, if a person assaults an official they can be charged with a class C person misdemeanor, which could result in a fine of $500 and up to one month in jail. Under the bill, assault of an official would become a class B person misdemeanor, which could result in a $1000 fine and up to six months in jail. If a person is charged with aggravated assault of a sports official, under the bill, that charge would increase to a class A person misdemeanor, which could result in a $2500 fine and up to 12 months in jail.

Supporters of the bill hope the changes will encourage more people to become officials.

“I just want to see something done. I’m not going to be able to do this much longer so if I can protect the other officials coming up and make sure they’re alright, I’m happy to help,” Bachman said.

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