After a middle-school basketball game, an Eagan man slammed his son against the wall, punched him repeatedly and then was handcuffed after cussing out a police officer, according to new charges filed on Monday in Dakota County District Court.
A coach also told police that the father, Steven O. Wilson, 52, had been ejected from at least one of his 14-year-old's previous sporting events for yelling and cursing.
Wilson had been charged with fifth-degree domestic assault, a misdemeanor, after the incident Dec. 10 at Lakeville South High School, but late Friday, the Dakota County Attorney's Office added gross-misdemeanor charges of malicious punishment of a child and child neglect.
"Violence against children under any circumstance is unacceptable," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. "It is particularly disturbing when it is associated with a youth sporting event, as is alleged here."
Eagan Athletic Association officials also notified Wilson last week that the incident violated their code of conduct and that they were "revoking his privilege to view, attend or assist with any EAA practices, games or events." Association President Ken LaChance said that includes any sport tournaments that involve Eagan teams, even if they are hosted by other area athletic groups.
According to the criminal complaint, Wilson told police that his son had started the fight by pushing him after the conclusion of the game, which his son's team lost. But the boy and two witnesses told police that Wilson was the aggressor, "body checking" the boy and slamming him against the wall and then punching him, all the while screaming at him. The boy said he tried to push his father away in self-defense.
While police were investigating and an officer was waiting with Wilson, "the defendant made several spontaneous statements using profanity," the complaint said. When the officer told him to watch his language and reminded him that he was in a school with children, Wilson allegedly "took several steps forward and stood directly in front of the officer ... leaned forward, looked the officer directly in the eye" and swore again.
"Based on the defendant's aggressiveness, the officer grabbed his arms and handcuffed him," the complaint said.
Wilson apparently injured his fingers and elbow in the confrontation with his son and was taken to a hospital. The boy's injuries did not require medical attention.
Lakeville police have forwarded the case to Dakota County social services, where child-protection workers can investigate Wilson's son's well-being.
Lakeville eighth-grade coach Mark Kempton said last week that he did not see the beating but heard about it from parents and saw Wilson's son afterward. "I was shaken," he said. "It was pretty ugly."
Wilson's first court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 3.