College lacrosse coach arrested in party incident

Reitenbach is accused of interfering with police responding to complaint


April 23, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Western Maryland College's men's lacrosse coach has been arrested - as the team heads for its conference playoffs - on charges that he interfered with police called to a loud party with underage drinkers at a student's off-campus apartment, Westminster police said.

Keith Robert Reitenbach, 45, of the 100 block of Pennsylvania Ave., a college-owned property, was charged with two misdemeanors: disorderly conduct and failing to obey a police officer, Maj. Dean A. Brewer, a Westminster police spokesman, said yesterday.

After processing at the Carroll County Detention Center in Westminster early Sunday, the coach was taken before a Carroll County District Court commissioner and released without bail.

Reitenbach could not be reached for comment.

"The matter ... is under review by the college administration. Any comment would be premature since we do not have complete details at this time," said Donald W. Schumaker Jr., a Western Maryland College spokesman, declining further discussion.

The nationally ranked Green Terror lacrosse team just completed a 12-1 season and is scheduled to play Friday against Washington College of Chestertown, said Stephen E. Peed, sports information director. This is the first round of playoffs for the Centennial Conference championship, which is being held by No. 1 seeded Gettysburg College.

Reitenbach has been the team's coach for 10 of his 23 years of coaching. He coached at Cornell University from 1986 to 1992, and at the University of North Carolina in 1985, according to Western Maryland College's Web site. At Cornell, Reitenbach played for a team that saw two national championships, three Ivy League championships and an NCAA record of 42 consecutive victories.

The incident began about 1 a.m. Sunday when a "party patrol" of five city officers and a campus safety officer went to the first block of Carroll St. - several blocks from campus - after receiving a complaint about a loud party, Brewer said. Someone sitting outside directed police upstairs, where they said they found 60 to 100 people in a second-floor apartment.

Police officers issued alcohol-possession citations to 21 male and female partygoers between ages 18 and 20, which are punishable by a fine, said Brewer, as well as one to a juvenile younger than age 18.

Two officers were heading for the kitchen to look for underage drinkers, when an older man with red watery eyes and holding a red plastic cup of beer blocked the doorway, Brewer said. The man began to argue with the officers, telling them they needed a search warrant and had no right to be in the apartment, Brewer said.

The officers asked the man to keep his voice down but he became more belligerent and refused to step aside, saying, "I know the law" and "I'm not moving and you can't make me," Brewer said. He demanded that the officers leave, although it was not his home, Brewer said.

After again refusing to move, the man was arrested and handcuffed, and taken to the central booking facility at the jail, where he refused to get out of the patrol car, Brewer said. He also refused to be photographed and fingerprinted, and objected to jail personnel confiscating his shoelaces, Brewer said.

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