Bozeman charges dismissed in Va.

Morgan men's coach settles case

apology to manager part of deal

College basketball

April 25, 2007|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun reporter

Farmville, Va. -- Two misdemeanor charges against Todd Bozeman were dismissed yesterday after the Morgan State men's basketball coach reached a financial settlement with a manager of a nearby restaurant and issued a courtroom apology.

"Your honor, I would like to apologize to Mulligan's [restaurant]," Bozeman said in a brief proceeding that followed negotiation of an undisclosed settlement with Stephanie J. Schreck.

Afterward, Bozeman declined to comment.

"It was all about a misunderstanding about a sandwich [order] after a game," said Murray J. Janus, an attorney hired by Bozeman, who brokered the settlement.

Bozeman had been charged with Class 1 assault and battery and Class 3 curse and abuse on Feb. 3. After a narrow loss at Longwood College, which is about an hour west of Richmond, Bozeman went to Mulligan's to register a complaint about the Bears' post-game sandwich order, and got into an argument with Schreck.

Prince Edward County recalled retired judge Robert Spencer and moved the Bozeman case to a Circuit Court room in response to the prospect of an abnormally long misdemeanor trial, as 13 witnesses were prepared to testify against Bozeman.

"From the get-go, all we wanted from Mr. Bozeman was an apology," said Matt Hurley, the owner of Mulligan's. "We did not need to be in court. Everybody has jobs. We'd all rather be somewhere else."

All four of Bozeman's assistant coaches were also in court for a trial that was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Shortly thereafter, Bozeman and Schreck left the courtroom.

A half-hour later, both returned, and Brian T. Butler, an assistant to Jim Ennis, who was trying the case, told Spencer that Bozeman would like to address the court.

Afterward, Ennis said that an "accord of satisfaction" had been reached, a written document informing the court that a sum of money has changed hands to "settle the potential civil aspect."

"The settlement reached was between her [Schreck] and the defendant," Ennis said. "We do not take a role in that. She has an option to enter into that agreement.

"On the basis of that settlement, we are asked to dismiss the criminal charges. In my 32 years, I can never recall a case where the court refused to do that. It [a settlement] is certainly not an unanticipated event on our part."

Ennis said that the amount of the settlement is not part of the public record.

Morgan State spokesman Clint Coleman said: "We are pleased that this matter has finally been put to rest. We believe it was a matter of a terrible misunderstanding."

In his first season as Morgan State's coach, Bozeman led the Bears to a 13-18 record and to the semifinals of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.

Bozeman signed a three-year contract with Morgan State a year ago this week. He had been out of Division I coaching since 1997, when he left California for NCAA violations that included the payment of players.

paul.mcmullen@baltsun.com

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