Assault, burglary charges against Karcher dropped

November 14, 2008|By Stephen Kiehl | Stephen Kiehl,stephen.kiehl@baltsun.com

The state dropped all charges yesterday against Mark Karcher, the boys basketball coach at St. Frances, who had been arrested on assault and burglary charges in September.

A spokeswoman for the Baltimore state's attorney's office said the charges against Karcher, 29, were dropped for lack of evidence.

"He's very relieved and just wants to move on," said Karcher's lawyer, David B. Irwin. "I think Mark's going to go forward and be a great basketball coach for St. Frances, and I think he'll be a good role model for kids."

Karcher has continued in his role as head basketball coach and disciplinarian at St. Frances while the charges were pending. This is Karcher's first year as the team's head coach after serving for several years as an assistant under coach William Wells. Karcher is a St. Frances graduate and was a star player for the team. He was The Sun's All-Metro Player of the Year in 1996 and 1997 before going on to play for Temple University. He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2000 but never played in the NBA.

Sister John Francis Schilling, president of St. Frances Academy, said she had expected that the charges would be dropped and that Karcher is happy and relieved at the outcome. She said people jumped to conclusions before all the evidence was in.

"I feel like there's such a rush to judgment when anybody with any name recognition gets accused of anything," Schilling said. "We forget about the fact that it's innocent until proven guilty, and that's unfortunate."

Karcher had been arrested Sept. 30 on two second-degree assault charges and third- and fourth-degree burglary charges based on two incidents, one in May, the other in November 2006. His lawyer said the incidents were "misunderstandings between the people involved."

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